I appreciated last week’s guest column by former editors of the Harvard Law Review: it was a thoughtful invitation for further dialogue and action on the gender disparity problem on the Review. I wish I could say the same of much of The Record’s coverage of the issue to-date. Indeed, rather than providing the campus community with balanced reporting of a complex problem with multi-dimensional solutions, The Record — with its staged photograph of its editorial staff posing dramatically in front of Gannett House, its reluctance to incorporate viewpoints contrary to its own particular “spin” on the story, and its sensationalistic, inflammatory language — elided the distinction between fact and fiction, news and editorial. Most regretfully, it missed an opportunity to set a tone for productive conversation on an important issue.
The truth is that no “straitjacket of silence” cloaks the Review. Regardless of what may or may not have been in days of yore, far more fashionable around Gannett nowadays are a welcoming and supportive environment, commitment to a quality product, and lively, open debate. But this is not to say that the Review’s membership couldn’t be more diverse and representative. Like many former and current editors, I, too, am troubled by the decrease in the number of women on the Review over the last two years. Any attempt to address the problem, however, must contemplate a panoply of possible causes and solutions — not blindly rush to potentially ill-advised or counterproductive action.
The gender disparity on the Review is just one aspect of a broader inquiry into women’s equal participation and opportunity at HLS. Rest assured that members of the Review have taken up the invitation to engage meaningfully in this process. I challenge The Record to do the same.