School of Foreign Service Dean Robert L. Gallucci ruffled some feathers at the SFS late last semester when he announced he was considering hiring a former Bush administration official as a visiting professor.

Al Kamen of The Washington Post quoted an anonymous source in November who said that members of the SFS faculty were”up in arms” at the prospect of Douglas J, Feith – a former Bush administration official who was instrumental in constructing the government’s Iraq policy – joining their ranks.

Gallucci, though not as drastic with his assessment of the conflict, said that the faculty response to the possible appointment had been unusually vociferous. He said that several faculty members had contacted him by e-mail to state their opposition to Feith’s appointment.

“I have not received push-back on any of the other appointments except abstractly or analytically,” Gallucci said.

“A small number of faculty have said they would support hiring Feith, although it’s fair to say most have taken the negative argument,” he added.

As the undersecretary of defense for policy for four years before his resignation last summer, Feith became a central member of the neoconservative movement. Numerous political pundits have publicly assaulted his character and policies, while others have praised his service.

Feith served under President Reagan as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy for two years starting in 1984, according to the Department of Defense Web site. Prior to his stint as deputy assistant secretary, Feith served as special counsel to Richard Perle, then assistant secretary of defense

He also worked at the National Security Council as a Middle East specialist, and is the author of numerous articles on foreign and defense policy and international law.

Feith served for 15 years as the managing attorney for Feith & Zell, P.C., a D.C. law firm, prior to accepting a position in the Bush administration.

Gallucci said he believed that Feith would benefit the SFS despite the controversy surrounding him.

“It is my strong view that with a full-time faculty of over 100 in the SFS, it is not unreasonable for the dean to look for one faculty member who will speak for and defend broadly an administration’s foreign and security policy that is quite controversial,” he said.

Whereas ordinary and adjunct professors must be recommended and vetted by the faculty, Gallucci said that this is not necessarily the case with visiting professors. Due to the temporary nature of the appointment, he said discretion lies in large part with the dean, although it ultimately hinges on the provost’s approval.

Charles King, chair of the SFS faculty, said that, regardless of the faculty’s perceptions about Feith, Gallucci should have sought more consultation from the faculty before deciding to pursue him.

“The faculty is responsible for determining the bounds of its own membership,” King said. “[Individual opinions] are secondary to the issue of process.”

Gallucci said that although he values dialogue with the faculty, he will remain firm with his decision.

“I’m not seeking their consent,” he said, “I’m seeking their advice.”

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