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Committee chairwoman, provost clarify report issues
STANFORD -- The following is a statement by Stanford University Provost Condoleezza Rice and Myra Strober, professor and academic associate dean in the School of Education and chairwoman of the Provost's Committee on the Recruitment and Retention of Women Faculty:
In light of the recent op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle about the report of the Provost's Committee on the Recruitment and Retention of Women Faculty, we would like to clarify some issues.
The committee was appointed by Provost Gerald Lieberman in October 1992 and completed its work in September 1993. The report of the committee was submitted to Provost Condoleezza Rice and discussed by the University Cabinet at its Oct. 7 meeting. The provost and Myra Strober, chair of the committee, had agreed that the findings and recommendations of the committee would be made available to the Faculty Women's Caucus at its next meeting.
However, at the Cabinet meeting, several deans noted the report's quotation of individual faculty members who had participated in the focus groups and telephone interviews conducted by the committee. Though the quotations were anonymous, the sources of some of these quotations were identifiable, in spite of the committee's efforts to mask them.
As a result, the provost asked the committee to meet with her to discuss the disposition of the report. At this meeting, committee members were not unanimous in their view of the question.
Those members who felt it should be provided to the community in its original form believed that the sources of the quotations were unlikely to be identified. They felt, in addition, that the verbatim statements provided a vividness to the findings and recommendations that was essential to the strength of the report and the impact it would have on the community.
Those who were opposed to providing the report with the quotations were troubled by the fact that quoted individuals had been told that their comments would be kept confidential, and that the focus group discussions and interviews had occurred in the absence of human subjects protocols required in social science research. They also were concerned that, in the choice of quotations, the report presented issues in their starkest form, and, in doing so, did not present a balanced view of the committee's findings.
The provost shared these concerns and was also aware that some members of the committee had understood that the report would be submitted only to the provost; they had not known of the plans to provide it in its original form to the community.
After discussion, the committee decided to revise the original version. A subgroup of the committee removed the direct quotations and made a few other editorial changes. The findings of the report and the recommendations remained unchanged.
The final version of the report will be provided to the Faculty Senate for its Dec. 2 meeting and will be made public after that date. Copies may be requested after that date from the Office of the Provost.
The committee spent an enormous amount of time gathering data and producing its report, and many faculty members contributed valuable time talking to committee members. The results of their work is of tremendous value to the university community, and it is our intent now to focus on the business of responding to the substance of their report.
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