A majority of Harvard Law School students are unhappy with the level of representation of women and minorities on the Law School faculty, according to a recent survey.
The survey distributed last May by the Coalition for Civil Rights (CCR), reported that 83 percent of respondents believe the number of minority women on the Law School faculty is inadequate.
More than half of students surveyed also expressed disappointment with the low representation of white women, minority men and openly gay, lesbian or bisexual faculty members at the Law School.
“The results are not surprising. Most people have agreed there is a problem,” said second-year student Robert H. Friedman, editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Record.
The survey drew nearly 450 responses, including a smattering from the faculty.
CCR is an organization of law students dedicated to “increasing the number of women and minorities on the faculty” and “promoting diversity,” according to second-year student Rudy M. Reyes, co-chair of the organization.
Law students said they want to learn from a variety of perspectives and approaches to the law.
“A black male from a lower socioeconomic background will approach the study of constitutional law in a different way from a white upper-class male,” Reyes said.
Some students also supported curricular changes, citing the dearth of course offerings in feminist jurisprudence, gender discrimination and sexuality.
“Faculty diversity and curricular diversity go hand in hand,” Reyes said. “The hiring committee loves to hire corporation and tax professors,” who are predominantly “white males.”
Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law David B. Wilkins ’77 called this statement an “oversimplification” but expressed his support for increased representation of minorities.
“The fact that there never have been Asian Americans, Native Americans, gays, lesbians, Latinos, Latinas and women of color [on the faculty] is a subject of major concern,” said Wilkins, who is black.
Of 71 current Law School professors and assistant professors, 11 are women, five are black, one is Native American and one is Hispanic, said Mike Chmura, spokesperson for the Law School.
Although the conventional wisdom among students and faculty is that the Law School faculty includes no minority women, Chmura said Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren is Native American.
In response to criticism of the current administration, Chmura pointed to “good progress in recent years.”
According to Chmura, of the 21 professors appointed since 1989, 10 were women or minorities. In addition, all three of last year’s appointees were women.
The demands for women of color on the faculty may be satisfied if noted black legal scholar and University of Pennsylvania professor C. Lani Guinier ’71 accepts her outstanding offer from the Law School, Friedman said.
But critics of hiring procedures have come from both ends of the political spectrum.
“We have a major problem with ideological diversity,” said secondyear law student Dan Schorr, president of the Harvard Law School Republicans.
According to Schorr, the Law School has not hired an openly Republican professor in 20 years.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1996/10/22/survey-diversity-lacking-at-hls-pa/