Prof Steps Down From Panel on Living Wage

By By U Wire

By U Wire

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.?Harvard University professor of economics Caroline M. Hoxby has resigned from the Katz Committee effective Monday, claiming the committee has favored a pro-living wage agenda.

The Harvard Committee on Employment and Contracting Policies (HCECP), popularly dubbed the Katz Committee after its chairman, professor of economics Lawrence F. Katz, has been charged with examining the University wage and employment policies. The committee is scheduled to release its preliminary data at the ARCO Forum Monday evening. In a letter to The Crimson, Hoxby questioned whether that data came from a balanced process.

?I believe that the HCECP has neither the process nor the principle to fulfill its duties,? Hoxby wrote.

The resignation of nationally recognized education economist Hoxby will place Monday night’s forum under even sharper scrutiny.

?I am ashamed to admit that my university does not currently have an atmosphere that fosters the free exchange of ideas on this topic,? she wrote.

Hoxby declined to be interviewed.

As of Sunday night, Hoxby had not announced her resignation to members of the Katz Committee.

?She?s an integral member of the committee,? Katz said Sunday night. ?We hope she?ll continue to provide us with information and valuable insights.?

The much-publicized committee was born last spring out of the three-week long occupation of Mass. Hall, home of the president?s office. The Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) organized the sit-in as part of its push for a ?living wage??a mandatory wage floor of $10.25 per hour for all Harvard employees.

Committee members are scheduled to present a set of recommendations for wage policies to University President Lawrence H. Summers by Dec. 19.

According to Hoxby?s letter, the committee?s members?selected last spring by former University President Neil Rudenstine?fail to represent a balanced set of viewpoints.

Members include 11 faculty members, three unionized Harvard employees, two administrators and four students.

Two of the four students, Benjamin McKean and second year law student Faisal Chaudhry, are PSLM members who occupied Mass. Hall last spring.

McKean declined to comment, and Chaudhry could not be reached for comment.

Hoxby said the committee has heard testimony exclusively from pro-living wage groups like the living wage campaign, Workers? Center and union representatives.

?The committee has not heard one presenter who has made a positive case against the living wage and it stops hearing testimony today,? Hoxby wrote.

Throughout the letter, she refers to fellow committee members as ?the ?principled? people.?

Katz, who expressed surprise Sunday night at Hoxby?s resignation, maintained the committee has a broad range of representation.

?The committee is open to all views. We?ve heard from many different viewpoints,? Katz said. ?We?ve done a lot of work trying to collect quantitative and qualitative data.?

Katz said the information released Monday evening will serve as a testament to the breadth of the committee?s research. But Hoxby said the views of undergraduates not actively involved in the PSLM have been all but ignored.