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Harvard Law students occupy the dean's office to protest a lack of minority faculty
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[Students occupy Dean's office at Harvard Law School]
Original Airdate: 5/10/1988

Length: 00:02:27
Item Type: newstape - edited story master

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Full Description

Visual: Shots of Harvard Law students studying their textbooks as they occupy the Dean's office in the administration building of Harvard Law School. Most of the students are African American.

Marcus Jones reports that 50 Harvard Law School students marched into the administration building in the afternoon; that most of the students are African American; that many of the students wore black as a show of solidarity.

V: Footage of Robert Wilkins (Harvard Black Law Students Association) saying that the students want the administration to deal with the problem of minority faculty at the school; that the school has no specific goals, programs, or ideas to increase the numbers of minority faculty. Shots of the students studying as they sit in the dean's office.

Jones reports that the students presented James Vorenberg (Dean, Harvard Law School) with twelve demands; that one of the demands is for the school to hire at least twenty tenured or tenure-track minority professors over the next four years. Jones notes that other demands include the hiring of an African American female faculty member by fall and the promotion of Derek Bell (Professor, Harvard Law School) to Dean next year. Jones notes that Vorenberg will leave the post of Dean next year.

V: Shots of protest signs hanging in the administration building. Some of the signs read, "Why no tenured Asian American?" and "More black faculty now." Shots of signs reading, "Stop racism at HLS now" and "Black female faculty now." Footage of Bell saying that a cross-section of the population should be represented in the student body and the faculty; that diversity enhances quality instead of harming quality. Shots of students studying texts as they occupy the Dean's office.

Jones reports that the protests of students twenty years ago forced Harvard to hire minority professors like Bell. Jones adds that today's students are hoping that their protest will force the university to take action.

V: Footage of Wilkins saying that there have been demonstrations at universities across the country; that a lack of minority faculty is a common problem. Wilkins says that Harvard should take the lead in dealing with this problem. Footage from Frontline of a campus protest against racism.

Jones reports that racism on college campuses is a growing problem; that students are protesting to draw attention to the issue. Jones stands in the administration building with the Harvard students. Jones reports that the tenured faculty of Harvard Law School will meet tomorrow; that no one is sure if the faculty will take a stand on the students' demands. Jones notes that the students say that the occupation will continue in shifts to accomodate those who are taking final exams.

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