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Harvard's black faculty protests hiring policy

Only 1.4 percent of the faculty at Harvard University is black. In university jobs on the administrative and professional staffs, blacks fare slightly better - 4.1 percent.

Protesting these figures, black administrators and some of the 30 black faculty members have met with university president Derek Bok to demand greater representation at every level of campus employment.

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The Harvard Association of Black Faculty and Administrators has recommended two steps to increase employment of blacks on campus: form a new equal-opportunity employment committee ''with policymaking authority'' and hold senior administrators ''accountable for effectively implementing affirmative-action policies.''

This is the first time black faculty and administrators have publicly protested the university's minority hiring practices.

The association's goal is to find a workable program to increase the employment of blacks on campus, says Prof. Charles Willie, association cochairman. ''A more diversified faculty enriches the university in all aspects of its operation.

''We have offered our assistance to all colleges and departments of Harvard, '' Dr. Willie said in an interview. ''We discussed with them their plans and concerns for affirmative action.''

President Bok, however, does not control hiring in the individual departments and colleges on campus, says Nancy Randolph, special assistant to Bok. ''There is no question about the president's commitment to the hiring of blacks,'' she says. ''But there are other problems beyond his control. He hires nobody. Each faculty department does its own hiring. And not all are dedicated to affirmative action.

''This office is trying to develop data banks and resumes of competent blacks ,'' says Dr. Randolph, Bok's affirmative-action officer. ''We encourage all faculty search committees to seek more blacks and women. And we offer our services to help them.'' Her office sponsors workshops for supervisors every two years, she says.

''It's easy to advertise and post Harvard positions, but it is often difficult to convince minorities that Harvard is interested in hiring them,'' Randolph says.

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Harvard, the nation's oldest and richest university, apparently is not finding it easy to attract blacks. ''Once blacks were proud of the prestige of Harvard, but today the business world on the outside and other universities offer money, pay, tenure, and other amenities that appeal to blacks more than prestige,'' she says.

But the association is demanding that Bok and other top administrators implement and enforce requirements for black hiring. The group, citing statistics derived from the university's Affirmative Action Plan Update for 1982 -83, notes:

* Only 6.5 percent of the total Harvard labor force is black. And of the professional-level jobs - faculty, administrators, and managers - only 2.6 percent are held by blacks.

* In Harvard's nine professional schools, blacks are 1.0 percent of the faculty (25 of 2,338). Blacks comprise 1.4 percent (30 of 2,874) of the total faculty.

* Two percent of the black faculty have tenure, compared with 20 percent of the total faculty.

''We are certain that when consensus is achieved regarding the facts, all will wish to take appropriate action,'' the association stated in a Dec. 28 letter to Bok, president Matina Horner of Radcliffe College (the affiliate women's college), five vice-presidents, and 10 deans.

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