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Rice, Strober agree: Original women's report should not have been released

STANFORD -- Provost Condoleezza Rice apologized at the Faculty Senate Dec. 2 for release of a report that contained quotes given in confidence to the Committee on the Recruitment and Retention of Women Faculty.

The original version of the committee's report contained quotations gathered during focus-group discussions and other interviews. During the information gathering, individuals had been told their comments would be kept confidential.

Fearing individuals could be identified despite attempts in the report to disguise them, Rice asked the committee to edit the quotes out of the report before it was made public.

However, through a clerical error in the Provost's Office, at least one copy of the original version was given out, Rice said. Several of the quotes subsequently appeared in local newspapers.

Rice apologized to the committee and the quoted individuals for the accidental release.

Professor Myra Strober, chair of the committee, told the senate that she originally favored releasing the version of the report containing the quotations, but "I have since come to a different view."

She said she had been contacted by a woman faculty member whose story in the report was printed in a newspaper and who was recognized by a male faculty member. He told her "he was angry that she had complained to the committee about him."

"Fortunately, this woman has tenure," Strober said. "Such a situation might have been harmful for an untenured woman.

"Although the absence of the specific stories and quotes may make the report less compelling to some of you," Strober said, "I think that in the interest of protecting individuals, the provost's decision not to release specific stories and quotes was correct."

Rice said the incident raised a broader question about public distribution of reports. In the interest of encouraging full and candid reports, she said, there may be times when a committee's product will not be made public.

"I will always be honest with you about the conclusions and what we have to do," she told the senate. "But I will not promise reports will be made public."


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