Category Archive 'Harvard'
16 Oct 2023
The Business Insider reports that suddenly, who would ever have imagined? Woke Extremism in the form of on-campus support for Hamas may have untoward consequences for students at elite schools like Harvard.
It started when dozens of student groups issued a statement holding Israel’s government “entirely responsible” for the violence that Hamas unleashed in Gaza. That, in turn, prompted billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman to demand that his alma mater disclose the names of students who are members of the signatory groups — even those who didn’t know about the statement — so Wall Street firms could avoid hiring them. Adding to the tension, a truck roamed campus displaying the names and photos of students alleged to be involved with the statement.
It was a strange position for Harvard to find itself in. The university has long enjoyed a place of honor among the power elite. It sends more graduates into the bulge bracket banks than any other school. Large law firms also love hiring from Harvard, and Silicon Valley loves to place big bets on the university’s graduates. Over the past three years, according to Crunchbase, about one of every 10 dollars invested in early-stage startups went to Harvard alumni.
But Ackman’s broadside exposed a deeper rift among conservative industries like Wall Street and Big Law and the campuses they’ve historically recruited from. As a new generation of graduates has emerged, they have found themselves and the campus culture they’re a part of increasingly at odds with the values and expectations of the big banks and white-shoe law firms they’ve been trained to staff. …
An investor at an asset management firm in Silicon Valley privately told Insider that he recently spoke to a hedge-fund founder who made no bones about how he approaches hiring. When a résumé hits his desk, the founder said, he skips over the sections on experience and education and instead races to the bottom of the page, where applicants list their “activities.” Then, if he sees something he doesn’t like, he will simply “rip up” the résumé and reject the applicant as a “bad cultural fit.”
For Harvard students — especially those in the business and law schools — having prominent leaders in your chosen profession openly declare that they won’t hire graduates who hold political views they disagree with is not an academic issue — it’s an existential threat. …
now, some Harvard students fear that the backlash from the business community will have a chilling effect on student speech. Like it or not, they say, students have to think about how expressing their views could affect their financial and professional prospects. That’s especially true when Wall Street billionaires are posting on X, formerly Twitter, and professional network LinkedIn has become a home for all kinds of sharing. There’s every chance today that what’s said on campus won’t stay on campus.
A first-year law student told Insider that students would be wise to think through what voicing their opinions could mean for their future employment, especially in a buttoned-down field like law. “The general advice,” he said, “is to keep your opinions to yourself for the most part.”
A second-year law student, who was appalled by the letter, likewise sympathized with fellow students who were unnerved by having their words provoke such ire beyond the campus. “There is a real employment consequence for people — and that is a scary situation,” she said. “We are all here with a lot of student loans, and we need to work.”
30 May 2023
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was a Second Lieutenant in the 20th Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. gave a famous speech at Soldiers Field on Memorial Day 1895, in honor of Harvard University’s Civil War dead. It’s a particularly appropriate read at this time of year.
Behind every scheme to make the world over, lies the question: What kind of world do you want? The ideals of the past for men have been drawn from war, as those for women have been drawn from motherhood. For all our prophecies, I doubt if we are ready to give up our inheritance. Who is there who would not like to be thought a gentleman? Yet what has that name been built on but the soldier’s choice of honor rather than life? To be a soldier or descended from soldiers, in time of peace to be ready to give one’s life rather than suffer disgrace, that is what the word has meant; and if we try to claim it at less cost than a splendid carelessness for life, we are trying to steal the good will without the responsibilities of the place. We will not dispute about tastes. The man of the future may want something different. But who of us could endure a world, although cut up into five acre lots, and having no man upon it who was not well fed and well housed, without the divine folly of honor, without the senseless passion for knowledge outreaching the flaming bounds of the possible, without ideals the essence of which is that they can never be achieved? I do not know what is true. I do not know the meaning of the universe. But in the midst of doubt, in the collapse of creeds, there is one thing I do not doubt, that no man who lives in the same world with most of us can doubt, and that is that the faith is true and adorable which leads a soldier to throw away his life in obedience to a blindly accepted duty, in a cause which he little understands, in a plan of campaign of which he has little notion, under tactics of which he does not see the use.
Most men who know battle know the cynic force with which the thoughts of common sense will assail them in times of stress; but they know that in their greatest moments faith has trampled those thoughts underfoot. If you wait in line, suppose on Tremont Street Mall, ordered simply to wait and do nothing, and have watched the enemy bring their guns to bear upon you down a gentle slope like that of Beacon Street, have seen the puff of the firing, have felt the burst of the spherical case-shot as it came toward you, have heard and seen the shrieking fragments go tearing through your company, and have known that the next or the next shot carries your fate; if you have advanced in line and have seen ahead of you the spot you must pass where the rifle bullets are striking; if you have ridden at night at a walk toward the blue line of fire at the dead angle of Spotsylvania, where for twenty-four hours the soldiers were fighting on the two sides of an earthwork, and in the morning the dead and dying lay piled in a row six deep, and as you rode you heard the bullets splashing in the mud and earth about you; if you have been in the picket line at night in a black and unknown wood, have heard the splat of the bullets upon the trees, and as you moved have felt your foot slip upon a dead man’s body; if you have had a blind fierce gallop against the enemy, with your blood up and a pace that left no time for fear—if, in short, as some, I hope many, who hear me, have known, you have known the vicissitudes of terror and triumph in war; you know that there is such a thing as the faith I spoke of. You know your own weakness and are modest; but you know that man has in him that unspeakable somewhat which makes him capable of miracle, able to lift himself by the might of his own soul, unaided, able to face annihilation for a blind belief.
HT: Bird Dog.
09 Apr 2023
My residential college (Berkeley) at Yale.
The images of Yale and Princeton seem to be at least slightly different today from what they were a century ago. Harvard’s, on the other hand, seems not to have changed really all that much.
Back in 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Princeton ’17, in This Side of Paradise described “The Yale Thing” this way:
“I want to go to Princeton,” said Amory. “I don’t know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies, like I used to be, and all Yale men as wearing big blue sweaters and smoking pipes.”
“I’m one, you know.”
“Oh, you’re different. I think of Princeton as being lazy and good-looking and aristocratic, you know, like a spring day. Harvard seems sort of indoors,”
“And Yale is November, crisp and energetic,” finished Monsignor.
They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.
Quora is loaded to the gills with questions about elite colleges (mostly from ambitious Third World residents).
Some common themes are prestige and college character comparisons. These inquiries are commonly jejune and amount to nothing more than presumptuous expressions of adolescent fantasy on the part of people with no chance of being admitted to these kinds of schools, and they generally are simply ignored.
But every now and then the question provokes an interesting response. Somebody asked:
What type of students does each Ivy League look for?
Harry Lee responded:
Just because a school has more choices in picking students does not guarantee the wisdom of its pick. Steve Jobs would have been rejected by all Ivies today. But since the same AO has been picking students over many many years, we do see some pattern that reflects the AO’s taste in part.
I will answer this based solely on my prejudice, for what its worth. Take it at your own peril. (Don’t give me which school is not Ivy stuff – I know.)
Harvard: Model human beings with presentable stats and characters (yes, they are genuinely nice), with no evidence of glaring mental disease (see Yale and Princeton for comparison). Most balanced Ivy. The only Ivy with human mascot; all others are beasts. Earth’s answer to alien invasions. Must be, and look, strong across the board, but more importantly, must have no weakness, nothing controversial, especially on paper. Certainly a fox type, not a hedghog type. (“A fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing.”) Righteous and virtuous. Downside: Naive, bookish, unresourceful, unresilient, weak mental, carrying self-congratulatory smile. Often fall preys to determined and/or scheming underdogs. Diploma likely to end up being life’s greatest achievement. Real life is very different from school. Too risk-averse to try something that may be “unworthy” of alma mater; looking respectible becomes a burden after a while. Unable to reject expectation of others. Haunted by the self-question: “What is ‘me minus Harvard’ worth?” Bullied abruptly by bosses: “Let’s test how smart a Harvard guy is.” Bullied abruptly by spouses: “[You don’t even know how to turn off the dang faucet] – tell me, did you really go to Harvard?”
Yale: Creative, Passionate Artists with ADHD. Most artistic Ivy. Possess one big thing, lack others and proud of it. Ivy with greatest number of mathematically challenged – you can still succeed in life without understanding calculus. Certainly the hedgehog type (“All I need is making one big hole”) – an outlier with a nuclear punch. Flexible, witty, resourceful, irreverant, pungent, unique. Capable of counter-intuitive, original thinking. Social and gregarious like wolves (in contrast to the tigers that come below) and carry “secret club” antic to life after college. Think they can beat nerdy Harvard any time. Think they cannot beat Princeton, but rarely think of Princeton anyway. Downside: George Bush, George (another) Bush. Can be too creative for own good. Superficial and/or scheming (Many early CIA members were Yalies). Lazy underachievers – and proud of it.
Princeton: Rigorously Trained Tripartite Aristocrats (Gentleman+Scholar+Athlete) – with OCD. Most analytic Ivy. No weakness in reality (ie, not just on paper). Most hard working among HYP. Superachievers and fierce competitors. Mathematically comfortable. Motto: Only paranoids survive. Regularly beat both Harvard and Yale in almost everything. Prefer working alone, like tigers (why collaborate when perfection is attainable as solo?). Downside: Robot. Can be too perfect for own good. Serious, ambitious, studious, logical, wicked smart. Brutally efficient like Amazon dot com, lacking idealistic, romantic, human touch. …
Way too complimentary to Princeton, of course. (You can tell that Harry Lee went there.) Yale beats Princeton all the time.
20 Dec 2021
Old School Marxist Freddie deBoer (a graduate of Central Conn, not Yale) looks with a jaundiced eye on Harvard’s recent “Oh-so-kind” dispensing with requiring SAT scores in its undergraduate admissions application.
Here is what I want to say to you: at the end of this process, no matter how you change it, no matter how many statements the schools put out about diversity, no matter how many thumbs you put on all the scales to select for a certain kind of student, at the end of this process are self-serving institutions of limitless greed and an army of apparatchiks who are employed only to protect their interests. That’s it. You can’t make college admissions fair by getting rid of the SAT because colleges admissions can’t be “fair.” College admissions exist to serve the schools. Period. End of story. They always have, they always will. College admissions departments functioned as one big anti-Semitic conspiracy for decades because that was in the best interest of the institution. Guys who the schools know will never graduate but who run a 4.5 40 jump the line because admissions serves the institution. Absolute fucking dullards whose parents can pay – and listen, guys, it’s cute that you think legacies are somehow the extent of that dynamic, like they won’t let in the idiot son of a wealthy guy who didn’t go there – get in because admissions serves the institution. Some cornfed doofus from Wyoming with a so-so application gets in over a far more qualified kid from Connecticut because the marketing department gets to say they have students from 44 states in the incoming class instead of 43 that way, because admissions serves the institution. How do you people look at this world and conclude that the problem is the SAT?
And what just drives me crazy, what I find so bizarre, is that all these PMC liberals in media and academia think they’re so endlessly disillusioned and over it and jaded, but they imagine that it was the SAT standing in the way of these schools admitting a bunch of poor Black kids. What the fuck do you think has been happening, exactly? They’re standing around, looking at all these brilliant kids from Harlem and saying “oh God, if only we could let in these kids. We need to save them from the streets! But we can’t get past that dastardly SAT.” They decide who to let in, and they always have! They can let in whoever they want! Why on earth would you put the onus on the test instead of the schools? You think, what, they would prefer to admit kids whose parents can’t possibly donate? The whole selection process for elite schools is to skim a band of truly gifted students from the top, then admit a bunch of kids with identical resumes whose parents will collectively buy the crew team a new boathouse, and then you find a kid whose parents moved to the states from Nigeria two years before he was born and whose family owns a mining company and you call that affirmative action. And if you look at all this, and you take to Twitter to complain about the SAT instead of identifying the root corruption at the schools themselves, you’re a fucking mark, a patsy. You’ve been worked, you’ve been took. You’re doing the bidding of some of the wealthiest, most elitist, most despicable institutions on earth. You think Harvard gives a single merciful fuck about poor Black teenagers? Are you out of your goddamned minds?
It was in their best interest to use the SAT before, so they used it. Now it’s in their best interest to have even more leeway to select the bumbling doofus children of the affluent, and you’re applauding them for it in the name of “equity.” Brilliant.
It’s all corrupt. All of it. From the top to the bottom. It is so insane that all of these people who are ostensibly so cynical about institutions, who will tell you that capitalism is inherently a rigged game, who think meritocracy is a joke, who say that they think these hierarchies are all just privilege, will then turn around and say “ah yes, the SAT is gone, now fairness and egalitarianism will reign.” The whole damn thing makes no sense – it is nonsensical to talk about equality in a process that by its most basic nature is designed to select for a tiny elite! How the fuck do you think it’s going to work, exactly, when the SAT is gone? They’re still nominating a tiny elite to enjoy the most outsized rewards human life has to offer. That’s destructive no matter who gets a golden ticket. By its very nature.
“Equality”?!? Harvard only lets in 2000 kids a year! You really think carving out space for 50 more Black kids among them, if that actually even happens, is going to result in some sort of quantum leap forward for the average Black American? Is it not obvious that the whole scheme of fixing our racial inequalities by starting at the top by selecting some tiny number of Black overachievers and hoping the good times trickle down has failed, over and over again, since the start of desegregation? You can’t make Harvard “fair!” You can’t make it “equal!” Thinking otherwise is absolutely bonkers to me. Harvard exists to make sure our society is not equal. That is Harvard’s function.
You get that they just want to make it easier to turn down the poor but brilliant children of Asian immigrants, right? You understand that what Harvard and its feckless peers would like is to admit fewer students whose Korean parents clear $40,000 a year from their convenience stores, right? And you think, what, they’re going to be walking around Brownsville, handing out admissions letters to kids with holes in their pockets and a dream in their hearts? To the extent that any Black students are added to the mix by these policies, it’s going to be the Jaden and Willow Smiths of the world. If you think Harvard has any actual, genuine desire to fill its campus with more poor American-born descendants of African slaves you are out of your fucking mind. Just absolutely unhinged.
You hate the SAT. I get it. I will repeat myself in saying that, frankly, I think this is mostly because you didn’t do as well at it as you thought, it didn’t confirm your place as one of the lonely geniuses of our times, and this is your revenge. Cool, cool. You’ve firmly established your own place on the ladder, so now you want to pull it up. Cool, cool. Well, look, Mr. and Mrs. Jaded, blue checkmarks, oh sultans of ironic detachment, why don’t you prepare another audaciously dry tweet that shows your insouciant take on contemporary American meritocracy, only this time instead of carrying water for the most vile and existentially hierarchical institutions imaginable, which reap insane profits from the interest on their endowments alone, perhaps you could take a moment and contemplate the possibility that getting rid of the SATs is just another way for them to consolidate total and unfettered privilege to choose whoever is going to make their pockets even heavier, and that they are and will always be in the business of nominating an aristocracy that will deepen inequality and intensify exploitation no matter what kind of faces they happen to have, Black or white, Jew or gentile, all of them the elect, Elois over Morlocks, and this is the system to which you have lent your faith, the vehicle you expect to deliver us equality. What a world, what a world, what a world.
02 Oct 2021
Recent Harvard grad Carine Hajjar has bad news and some intelligent observations on the deplorable state of universities today, including in particular the most prestigious.
Before the Cold War, universities were run by faculty: “From the perspective of 100 years ago,” says Goldstein, “the idea that a faculty member would have his speech suppressed by the university was difficult to conceptualize.” During the Cold War, higher education was laden with research grants, one of the factors leading to the bureaucratization of the modern university. From 2007 to 2018, public degree-granting postsecondary schools in the U.S. generated a revenue of $671 billion. “The amount of money involved in higher education in the U.S. was slightly more than all the software we sell and electricity combined,” notes Goldstein. The result? “Universities don’t reflect the interest of the faculty anymore, they have the priorities of a corporation.”
The idea of university corporatism as an impetus for illiberalism is not new. In 2015, Fredrik deBoer, who had just completed a Ph.D. at Purdue, wrote a piece for the New York Times on the pernicious effects of corporatism on campus, stating that “a constantly expanding layer of university administrative jobs now exists at an increasing remove from the actual academic enterprise.”
Academic freedom is not optimal for market share. “Tranquility and profitability tend to win out over truth and inquiry,” says Goldstein. Controversial views (even if factually accurate) can disturb the corporate equilibrium. This may be one of the reasons why universities are increasingly dedicated to a new concept: “safetyism,” a term coined by FIRE’s founders, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt in their book The Coddling of the American Mind. Educators’ telos is no longer only knowledge; it’s ensuring that students feel “safe.”
But what is “safe”? Goldstein deals with cases where students claim to feel “unsafe” when presented with certain arguments in class. But can one really equate words — statements, claims, hypotheses — to physical safety? “It isn’t as if somebody saying words will make you explode into a fine mist,” as Goldstein says.
“Safe” in modern parlance seems to be about being on the “correct” side of an issue. That side is no longer simply the one on the left. Pinker shared a story with me about a hiring process he was involved in. The candidate, in Pinker’s words, “was a kind of middle-of-the-road liberal Democrat.” His political orientation did not matter; he violated a pillar of the orthodoxy. “He was skeptical about affirmative action,” which got him “branded as an extreme right-winger.” I asked if this was the reason the candidate was not hired. “It went into it,” among other factors.
Larry Summers, former president of Harvard, told me that certain topics demand more homogeneity than others: “We’re comfortable accepting a fairly wide range of views on U.S.–China foreign policy but we’re not comfortable accepting a wide range of views on affirmative action.” Other taboos include certain positions on race, gender, and colonialism. Summers shared a hypothetical: “If someone did research that showed that it’s better for children to spend more time with their mothers during the first six years of their life during the day, you’d have to be an extraordinarily brave person to do that on Harvard’s campus.”
How did we get here? Wasn’t the once-whimsical soft Marxism of college enough? Pinker offered a psychological explanation, mentioning the work of his former postdoctoral student, Peter DiScioli, on the human creation of groups. Humans have a propensity to compete for prestige as well as a fear of being in the “more vulnerable coalition.” So they join the mob lest they be the target of the mob. It’s a phenomenon that occurs in witch hunts, cultural revolutions, and political purges: “Anyone can be a victim if they themselves don’t join the ‘denouncers.’” This can be extrapolated to universities-turned-corporations, which, seeking to avoid controversy, are happy to oblige denouncers.
Ironically, the hippie-student-against-the-man crowd is driving this whole corporate tilt. “It’s easiest for [administrators] if they cave. . . . No skin off their nose if the universities are less able to investigate questions of truth and falsity and explanation,” said Pinker. They’re more worried about appeasing the “left-leaning students protesting outside their office.”
Why is this woke crowd powerful enough to dictate university incentives? Humans, in general, want to be on the “right” side of history. “We’re all moralistic animals,” said Pinker. But that doesn’t mean objective morality: “Moralistic efforts are those that attempt to claim superiority and demonize opponents.” We go for what is perceived as moral. The Harper’s open letter touched on this: There’s a “vogue for public shaming” and a “tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”
So long as this “vogue” continues, profit-seeking entities will comply. Safetyism and moralism go hand in hand: Universities can avoid controversy by tolerating mob mentality. It’s similar to the virtue-signaling you’re seeing in corporate America (think woke Coke). It’s trendy, it’s safe, and it sells.
After all, what’s more corporate than appearing moral?
20 Apr 2020
Elizabeth Bartholet moderates a panel discussion. Elizabeth Bartholet is the Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Child Advocacy Program (CAP), which she founded in the fall of 2004. She teaches civil rights and family law, specializing in child welfare, adoption, and reproductive technology. Before joining the Harvard Faculty, she was engaged in civil rights and public interest work, first with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and later as founder and director of the Legal Action Center, a non-profit organization in New York City focused on criminal justice and substance abuse issues. She is the author of many publications on child welfare.
Bartholet is a classic villain right out of an Ayn Rand novel. She recognizes the alarming possibility that kids might grow up Christian, or worse: Republican via parental influence. If kids are home-schooled that means they will miss out on crucial brain-washing and indoctrination at the hands of liberal teachers.
Elizabeth Bartholet, Wasserstein public interest professor of law and faculty director of the Law Schoolâ€™s Child Advocacy Program, sees risks for childrenâ€”and societyâ€”in homeschooling, and recommends a presumptive ban on the practice. Homeschooling, she says, not only violates childrenâ€™s right to a â€œmeaningful educationâ€ and their right to be protected from potential child abuse, but may keep them from contributing positively to a democratic society.
â€œWe have an essentially unregulated regime in the area of homeschooling,â€ Bartholet asserts. All 50 states have laws that make education compulsory, and state constitutions ensure a right to education, â€œbut if you look at the legal regime governing homeschooling, there are very few requirements that parents do anything.â€ Even apparent requirements such as submitting curricula, or providing evidence that teaching and learning are taking place, she says, arenâ€™t necessarily enforced. Only about a dozen states have rules about the level of education needed by parents who homeschool, she adds. â€œThat means, effectively, that people can homeschool whoâ€™ve never gone to school themselves, who donâ€™t read or write themselves.â€ In another handful of states, parents are not required to register their children as homeschooled; they can simply keep their kids at home. …
She views the absence of regulations ensuring that homeschooled children receive a meaningful education equivalent to that required in public schools as a threat to U.S. democracy. â€œFrom the beginning of compulsory education in this country, we have thought of the government as having some right to educate children so that they become active, productive participants in the larger society,â€ she says. This involves in part giving children the knowledge to eventually get jobs and support themselves. â€œBut itâ€™s also important that children grow up exposed to community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other peopleâ€™s viewpoints,â€ she says, noting that European countries such as Germany ban homeschooling entirely and that countries such as France require home visits and annual tests.
In the United States, Bartholet says, state legislators have been hesitant to restrict the practice because of the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association, a conservative Christian homeschool advocacy group, which she describes as small, well-organized, and â€œoverwhelmingly powerful politically.â€ During the last 30 years, activists have worked to dismantle many statesâ€™ homeschooling restrictions and have opposed new regulatory efforts. â€œThereâ€™s really no organized political opposition, so they basically get their way,â€ Bartholet says. A central tenet of this lobby is that parents have absolute rights that prevent the state from intervening to try to safeguard the childâ€™s right to education and protection.
Bartholet maintains that parents should have â€œvery significant rights to raise their children with the beliefs and religious convictions that the parents hold.â€ But requiring children to attend schools outside the home for six or seven hours a day, she argues, does not unduly limit parentsâ€™ influence on a childâ€™s views and ideas. â€œThe issue is, do we think that parents should have 24/7, essentially authoritarian control over their children from ages zero to 18? I think thatâ€™s dangerous,â€ Bartholet says. â€œI think itâ€™s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.â€
She concedes that in some situations, homeschooling may be justified and effective. â€œNo doubt there are some parents who are motivated and capable of giving an education thatâ€™s of a higher quality and as broad in scope as whatâ€™s happening in the public school,â€ she says. But Bartholet believes that if parents want permission to opt out of schools, the burden of proving that their case is justified should fall on parents.
â€œI think an overwhelming majority of legislators and American people, if they looked at the situation,â€ Bartholet says, â€œwould conclude that something ought to be done.â€
22 Nov 2019
The Crimson reports on the latest vital and totally relevant administrative initiative up there at the little commuter school of the Charles.
University President Lawrence S. Bacow announced the creation of a University-wide initiative to address and further research the schoolâ€™s ties to slavery in an email sent to Harvard affiliates Thursday.
Bacow selected Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin to be the head of a new University-wide faculty committee that will lead the initiative. The University has designated $5 million for the program, according to Bacowâ€™s email.
â€œIt is my hope that the work of this new initiative will help the university gain important insights about our past and the enduring legacy of slavery â€” while also providing an ongoing platform for our conversations about our present and our future as a university community committed to having our minds opened and improved by learning,â€ Bacow wrote.
Bacow wrote that the Radcliffe Institute will work closely with library and museum staff to host both programs and academic opportunities related to the issue.
â€œBy engaging a wide array of interests and expertise, as Radcliffe is uniquely suited to do, this initiative will reflect the remarkable power of bringing together individuals from across Harvard in pursuit of a common purpose,â€ he wrote.
Other faculty on the 12-person committee include former Law School Dean Martha L. Minow and former Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds.
Bacowâ€™s announcement comes as the University continues to grapple with its ties to slavery. In March, Connecticut resident Tamara K. Lanier filed a lawsuit against Harvard alleging the University unlawfully owns and profits off photos of enslaved people who she says are her ancestors.
Earlier this month, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda penned a letter to Bacow demanding reparations from Harvard for its historical ties to slavery.
In his letter, Bacow also wrote about efforts that former University President Drew G. Faust spearheaded several years ago like installing memorials commemorating enslaved individuals at Wadsworth House and Harvard Law School, and creating a faculty committee to study the Universityâ€™s ties to slavery.
In February 2016, former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith announced that faculty leaders of the 12 undergraduate houses would be renamed â€œFaculty Deansâ€ â€” a shift away from the former term â€œHouse Master,â€ which some students associated with slavery.
A month later, the Harvard Corporation â€” the Universityâ€™s highest governing body â€” agreed to remove the Law Schoolâ€™s controversial seal, which featured the crest of a slaveholding family. The decision came after pieces of black tape were found over the portraits of black Law School professors in November 2015 and months of student protests.
The initiative announced Thursday will focus on researching further the connections Harvard has to the slave trade and to abolition movements, Bacow said in his email.
â€œHarvard has a unique role in the history of our country, and we have a distinct obligation to understand how our traditions and our culture here are shaped by our past and by our surroundings â€” from the ways the university benefitted from the Atlantic slave trade to the debates and advocacy for abolition on camp,â€ Bacow wrote.
After all, hey! it’s only been a mere 236 years since Massachusetts abolished Slavery in 1783!
The great discovery of our Enlightened Age is the principle that the Universe revolves around left-wing sob stories.