Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government is failing to recruit women and minorities to the faculty, according to a complaint filed here today with the U.S. Labor Department.
A study by the Massachusetts chapter of the Women's Equity Action League, a national women's advocacy group that filed the complaint, shows that the faculty of the Kennedy School includes 44 white males, three white females and no minorities.
The league, which claims to represent several thousand women nationwide, targeted the Kennedy School because in the last two years only two of the 29 faculty members hired were women and none were minorities, said league president Gloria Bernheim.
Professor Francis Bator, a former presidential aide to Lyndon B. Johnson and now chairman of the faculty search committee, called the small number of women and minorities on the faculty a "nasty problem which can only be cured by time.
"It's very, very hard to find women and blacks who can compete on the same level as men in senior teaching posts for economics and decision theory because not many of them went into those areas 20 years ago," said Bator. "The pool for competent candidates is very, very small."
A comparison of the nation's four public policy schools named after presidents shows Harvard has the worst record for hiring women and minorities, the league said.
Harvard's three women faculty members give it a 7.4 percent representation for women and no minorities. By comparison, the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota has 12.5 percent women and no minorities. The Lyndon Baines Johnson school at the University of Texas has 17.4 percent women and 8.7 percent minorities, and the Woodrow Wilson school at Princeton has 6.8 percent women and 9.1 percent minorities.
If the Kennedy School is found in violation of affirmative action law, Harvard could lose substantial federal grants and contracts at a time when inflation is driving up tuitions and eating at the school's endowment. The Kennedy School received $1.5 million in federal funds in the last fiscal year, while the entire university received $98 million.