January 30, 2020

Update on Continuing Ethnic Studies Crisis


Unfortunately, there has been no progress on Ethnic Studies since our December email to you. Despite six student protests and multiple petitions signed by hundreds of Harvard faculty andl internationally-renowned scholars elsewhere, Harvard has not reversed nor even addressed the denial of tenure to Prof. Lorgia García Peña, a distinguished scholar and member of Harvard’s own Ethnic Studies search committee.


This 1/2/20 New York Times article, Denying a Professor Tenure, Harvard Sparks a Debate Over Ethnic Studies, confirms that Pres. Bacow denied tenure to Prof. García Peña after convening an anonymous “committee of experts from within and outside Harvard,” even though her colleagues in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures unanimously recommended her for tenure. The article also captures the anguish felt by students of color – some of whom testified for Harvard at the admissions trial and others who work to recruit minority, low-income, and first-generation students – who say that, once on campus, Harvard devalues their history and experiences and fails to retain professors who support them.

Dean Gay and Pres. Bacow have not responded to our letters calling on them to (1) hire four senior, tenured Ethnic Studies scholars whose responsibilities will include building an Ethnic Studies structure, (2) provide proper resources, and (3) reverse the García Peña tenure denial. Pres. Bacow told others, however, that all aspects of tenure deliberations “must be treated with the utmost confidentiality.” In this eight-part Twitter thread, Prof. Edward Curtis, who served as an outside expert on a secret Harvard tenure review committee, breaks down how Harvard's tenure processes sustain patterns of institutional racism. We urge you to read it.  

The students are not giving up – nor will we. On Monday, the first day of spring semester, the Harvard Ethnic Studies Coalition dropped banners in the first-year dining hall and rallied with other student organizations at the Science Center and in the Yard. A teach-in and other actions are upcoming. Please support them by buying a T-shirt or making a donation. We know how important the blue Defend Diversity t-shirts were in building unity and drawing press coverage to the admissions trial. The Ethnic Studies shirts will also remind the campus that this issue is not going away.

ETHNIC STUDIES NOW! T-SHIRTS (one for a student and one for you)

Donate $25 and we’ll send an Ethnic Studies Now! t-shirt to you and one to a student (there are now over 200 students in the ES Coalition). Or just make a donation of any size. Click here to donate today and indicate your shirt size. If you don’t want a shirt  for yourself, we’ll send both to the students.



As detailed in the flyer at the end of this email, HGSU made history with its 29-day strike in December. This month, the graduate students returned to work and to a period of federal mediation. They are prepared to escalate their fight if Harvard does not agree to raise pay, improve health care, and provide third-party protection against discrimination and harassment. If you’d like to support HGSU in their organizing efforts, please fill out this form.  




Jane, Margaret, Jeannie, Kristin & Michael


Jane Sujen Bock, Margaret M. Chin, Jeannie Park, Kristin R. Penner, & Michael Williams

Directors, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

December 13, 2019

Ethnic Studies Crisis; Grad Student Strike Continues

With heavy hearts, we report to you on the Ethnic Studies crisis now unfolding.


In June, we celebrated FAS Dean Gay’s commitment to hire a cluster of four Ethnic Studies scholars who would build a concentration and program. A faculty search committee was formed, including renowned Ethnic Studies scholar Lorgia García Peña. In her seven years at Harvard, Prof. García Peña won awards for her scholarship and teaching, served as an academic mentor to countless undergrads and grad students, and played a key role in the expansion of Harvard’s woefully inadequate Ethnic Studies offerings.


The day before Thanksgiving, Prof. García Peña learned that Harvard had denied her tenure. We now understand that she was moved forward in the tenure process by her department colleagues and by FAS -- but then denied tenure following an ad hoc review initiated by Pres. Bacow and overseen by Provost Garber. Harvard’s decision drew immediate outrage on campus and across the country and has been covered by the Boston Globe, Newsweek, and NBC, among others.



October 02, 2019

Victory for Race-Conscious Admissions


In a powerful and eloquent 130-page decision, federal judge Allison Burroughs yesterday affirmed the value of race-conscious holistic admissions, finding for Harvard on all counts in the SFFA v. Harvard lawsuit. The court found “no evidence of any discriminatory animus or conscious prejudice” against Asian American applicants. 


We are gratified that the Court recognized that Harvard’s carefully tailored race-conscious holistic admissions process is key to its pursuit of both excellence and diversity. Judge Burroughs soundly rejected Edward Blum’s blatant efforts to turn back the clock by eliminating consideration of race in admissions. The decision not only finds no evidence of discriminatory animus against Asian Americans but recognizes that eliminating consideration of race would significantly disadvantage at least some Asian American applicants. Moreover, the decision recognizes that race-conscious admissions benefit the student body as a whole and that there are no race-neutral alternatives available that are both adequate and Constitutional. 


The decision is a testament to the testimony of the amici witnesses, Harvard students and alumni who passionately shared stories that underscored the importance of diversity and race-conscious admissions. We are deeply grateful to them all – including Diverse Harvard members Sally Chen, Margaret Chin, Thang Diep, Catherine Ho, Madison Trice, and Itzel Vasquez-Rodriguez – for taking on this monumental responsibility under a national spotlight.

It has been a long journey already, and we thank our hundreds of members who participated in meetings and panels, attended our rally and court proceedings, wrote op-eds and spoke to the press, donated money and time, and helped in countless other ways. As this case and the University of North Carolina case wend their way through the court system – and as we come to understand their deep connections to a larger movement attacking voting rights and civil rights – we see that our work is just beginning.


The decision is linked in the press release of our NAACP LDF lawyers, and we urge you to read all 130 pages of it!  Further information can be found on the Harvard Admissions Lawsuit website.



Jane, Margaret, Jeannie, Kristin & Michael

Jane Sujen Bock, Margaret M. Chin, Jeannie Park, Kristin R. Penner, & Michael Williams

Directors, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

September 29, 2019

Ethnic Studies News

After 47 years of lobbying and proposals for an Ethnic Studies program, we are finally seeing a step forward with FAS Dean Claudine Gay’s commitment to hire a cluster of 3 to 4 cross-divisional scholars in the area of ethnicity, indigeneity, and migration during the upcoming academic year. The new positions, in Ethnic Studies, Asian American studies, Latinx studies, and/or studies of Islam in America, will complement planned hires in other departments in the divisions of social science and arts and humanities.


We will continue to press Harvard to commit to the building of an Ethnic Studies department, with its own faculty lines and resources. Failure to provide lines and resources has created a revolving door for Ethnic Studies scholars at Harvard to date, leading to departures of several beloved Ethnic Studies faculty this past year alone. We are hopeful that Harvard is ready to move forward to bring the University in line with other comparable institutions in this area.

For a detailed report on the battle for Ethnic Studies at Harvard – as well as Diverse Harvard’s lobbying efforts in conjunction with the Harvard Ethnic Studies Coalition, the Harvard Latino Alumni Association, the Task Force on Asian and Pacific American Studies (TAPAS) , and other groups – please click here for a message from Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance (H4A) President Jeannie Park to H4A members.

May 31, 2019

2019 Election Results

In this first year of online balloting, voting was up by 37%, and 12 of the 13 candidates endorsed by Diverse Harvard were elected!  We thank you for casting your votes for candidates who best demonstrated their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their responses to the Diversity Questionnaire and in their lives and careers.




Congratulations to the new Overseers:


  • Alice Hm Chen M.P.H. ’01, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Director, San Francisco Health Network

  • Janet Echelman AB ’87, Artist

  • Vivian Hunt DBE A.B. ’89  M.B.A. ’95, Managing Partner, McKinsey & Co.

  • Tyler Jacks A.B. ’83, Director, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, MIT

  • John B. King Jr. A.B. ’96 (’95), President and CEO, The Education Trust

  • Reshma Saujani M.P.P. ’99, Founder and CEO, Girls Who Code

  • Ryan Wise Ed.L.D. ’13, Director, Iowa Department of Education


And to the new HAA Elected Directors:

  • Bryan C. Barnhill II A.B. ’08, City Manager of the City Solutions Group, Ford Smart Mobility

  • Ethel Billie Branch AB ’01, JD ’08, MPP ’08, Former Attorney General, The Navajo Nation

  • Salomé Cisnal de Ugarte LL.M. ’94, Managing Partner, Hogan Lovells

  • Adrienne E. Dominguez A.B. ’90, Partner, Thompson & Knight LLP

  • Christina Lewis A.B. ’02 , Founder and CEO, All Star Code

  • Zandile H. Moyo A.B. ’00, Business Development and Social Impact Manager, Califia Farms




Speaking of congratulations, we couldn’t be prouder of new graduates Thang Diep ‘19 and Sally Chen ‘19, Diverse Harvard members both. They have worked tirelessly to make Harvard more inclusive and to promote educational access for all. Extraordinary organizers, educators, and media stars, their testimony at the Harvard trial could not have been more moving.  


On Class Day, Sally was honored with the prestigious Ames Award for her commitment to fostering equality and representation in higher education. In addition to her work on race-conscious admissions, Sally has been a leader of the campaign for Ethnic Studies.  We congratulate her and all the graduates!

We look forward to working with the newly elected Harvard leaders and with other alumni beyond the Harvard elections. Please share your ideas with us. Please help us build our membership (now nearly 1,300) by encouraging your friends to sign up on our website. (Members receive 1-2 emails per month.)


Thanks again to our Candidate Review Committee (besides the four of us, Sean Bolser, Laura Dumbach, Neimy Escobar, Tab Stewart, Deborah Reed, Nura Sediqe, and David Van Taylor) and to the 14 alumni groups who signed onto the Diversity Questionnaire. Have a great weekend!



Jane, Kristin, Margaret, & Michael


Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

Directors, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

March 24, 2019

Diverse Harvard Endorsements for Harvard Overseers and HAA Elected Directors

The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard has endorsed 7 Overseer and 6 Director candidates based on our evaluation of the candidates' responses to the Diversity Questionnaire, their official ballot statements, and research conducted by the Candidate Review Committee. Diverse Harvard looks for leaders who will be proactive in helping Harvard be a more diverse institution and who have a history of advocacy and accomplishments on diversity initiatives.


Diverse Harvard enthusiastically endorses these candidates who we believe will best support campus diversity (in ballot order).  


For Overseer:


For Director:


All 18 candidates submitted responses to the Diversity Questionnaire sent to them by Diverse Harvard and the 13 other alumni organizations listed below,* and we appreciate their detailed and thoughtful answers. The Candidate Review Committee of Diverse Harvard found that all the candidates have made stellar contributions to their communities and professions.


We note that our research does not show that any of the 18 candidates identify publicly as LGBTQIA+ or have substantial experience in addressing LGBTQIA+ issues. This is an issue that we and the Harvard Gender & Sexuality Caucus will raise with the Harvard Alumni Association.


Paper ballots will be mailed by April 1. In addition, for the first time, alums will receive an email on April 3 from with a link to an online ballot. Online votes must be cast by Tuesday, May 21, 5 pm EDT, and paper ballots must be received back in Cambridge by the same time.  


Please vote online or by mail when you receive your ballot. Another strong showing by the Coalition will help us in our efforts to promote Ethnic Studies, race-conscious holistic admissions, and other issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thank you for supporting diversity at Harvard!




The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard Candidate Review Committee

Jane Sujen Bock '81, Sean Bolser '89, Margaret M. Chin '84, Laura Dumbach '84, Neimy Escobar '15, Kristin R. Penner '89, Debra Reed MBA '82, Nura Sedique MPP '12, Tab Timothy Stewart '88, David Van Taylor '83, Michael Williams '81




*Alumnae-i Network for Harvard Women

Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

First Generation Harvard Alumni

Harvard Alumnae of Color

Harvard Arab Alumni Association

Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance

Harvard Black Alumni Society

Harvard Gender & Sexuality Caucus

Harvard Latino Alumni Alliance

Harvard Progressive Jewish Alumni

Harvard South Asian Alumni Alliance

Harvard Tamil Sangam Alumni

Harvard University Muslim Alumni

Native American Alumni of Harvard University

March 17, 2019

Admissions in the Courts, Ethnic Studies Still Missing at Harvard


So much has happened in the past month. From the push on Ethnic Studies, to the Harvard admissions trial closing, to the UNC case, to the criminal admissions cheating scam, we share with you some highlights below.  Meanwhile, please watch for our Harvard Overseers and Director endorsements later this month, and get ready to lobby your friends!



Pressure continues to build for comprehensive Ethnic Studies at Harvard following last month’s powerful student rally.


  • On Feb. 12th, the Washington Post published this eloquent opinion piece, Will Harvard continue to fail Asian Americans—or will it learn from the past?, by Renee Tajima-Peña '80, an Asian American Studies professor at UCLA and award-winning filmmaker. A Diverse Harvard member, Renee makes an incisive and moving case for Ethnic Studies, drawing on her personal history and involvement in the struggle for Ethnic Studies since the '70s.


  • On Feb. 13th, the Harvard Crimson published a stirring editorial in support of Ethnic Studies, stating:


Ethnic studies is an established and essential discipline of research universities across the country. Harvard’s lack of a department or center for this field places it woefully behind its peers and severely limits its capacity to be the leader in intellectual progress it claims to be.


  • The following day, the Crimson reported that FAS Dean Claudine Gay said “she is working to recruit three professors who study ethnicity, after the loss of two tenure-track professors specializing in Asian-American studies. . . The announcement came in the wake of letters to administrators and a protest . . . calling for a formalized ethnic studies program. . . “


“I’m very aware of student interest and, frankly, needs in this area, and I believe that it’s all valid,” Gay said.


Dean Gay acknowledged that the departure of Assoc. Prof. Natasha K. Warikoo and Asst. Prof. Genevieve A. Clutario constituted a “big loss,” and that the new “young, early-career” recruits are not meant to replace them.


Meanwhile, President Bacow emailed the Crimson that “we have been focused on ensuring that any new program would have the faculty and resources essential to deliver it,” adding “we know ... there is more work to do and we will continue to make progress in the months ahead.”


  • More recently, witnesses Sally Chen '19, Thang Diep '19 and Catherine Ho '21, who testified movingly in support of Harvard in the admissions trial, published this powerful essay in the Crimson: We Testified, It's Time for Action. They laid out the ways in which Harvard is still failing its students in terms of diversity. They reiterate demands for Ethnic Studies, faculty and staff diversity, campus bias training, a multicultural center and resources for public service.


February 13, 2019

Post-trial Closing Arguments Today!

The admissions trial ends with brief arguments at 1:30 today (Wednesday, Feb. 13th). They will be held in Courtroom 17 of Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston. Jenny Holmes of NAACP LDF, which represents Coalition for a Diverse Harvard and 24 other alumni and student groups in our amicus brief supporting race-conscious admissions, will be presenting, along with Harvard, SFFA and other amici attorneys. Afterward, all Diverse Harvard members are invited to a dinner and discussion hosted by the lawyers for the student and alumni amici at 6:00 pm in Lowell House JCR (in temporary digs at the Inn at Harvard at 1201 Mass Ave). For those of you who are not based in Boston, please find call-in information on our Diverse Harvard Facebook group.  We will be updating you soon via email on all the day's events and the latest news on our Ethnic Studies campaign. 

February 02, 2019


Earlier this week we learned about the departure of Harvard History and History and Literature Professor Genevieve Clutario to a tenure-track Asian American Studies position at Wellesley, which came on the heels of tenure denial to another Asian American and Ethnic Studies scholar, Professor Natasha Warikoo. We were already deeply concerned about the shockingly inadequate academic offerings for Harvard students in Ethnic Studies, so these devastating faculty losses have only made the needs more acute. On January 31st, we sent this letter to Harvard President Lawrence Bacow urging him to take immediate action on a comprehensive Ethnic Studies program and research center on race and ethnicity in the interests of ALL students at Harvard.

You may also be interested in the letters to President Bacow from the Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance and the Harvard Ethnic Studies Coalition, of which we are a part. If you would like to learn more about HESC, click here to join their mailing list.  

If you will be in Cambridge on Friday, February 8th, please join HESC for a gathering at 12:15 pm outside the Charles Hotel, One Bennett Street, where the Harvard Alumni Association Meeting will be taking place. Students and alumni will be available to spread awareness of Ethnic Studies among HAA members and to draw President Bacow’s attention to the issue. Please stop by to show your support as we distribute flyers and talk to individual alumni about Ethnic Studies.


Lawsuit Update

On January 23rd, both Harvard and SFFA filed rebuttals to their respective Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law from earlier in January. You can read key points in Harvard’s rebuttal here or the entire document here.

We hope some of you will be able to join us at the post-trial closing arguments at John J. Moakley Courthouse (1 Courthouse Way, Boston, MA 02210) on February 13th. Court begins at 2 pm and we suggest arriving 1-2 hours ahead. We hope to have a significant presence both outside and inside the courtroom. Please let us know if you can attend. If you already have a blue #DefendDiversity/Diversitas t-shirt, please wear it (or other Harvard gear). If you don't, we can provide you with a shirt or button at the courthouse.

We also call your attention to an important report on forces resegregating our public universities and how this relates to attacks on affirmative action like Blum’s lawsuits against Harvard and University of North Carolina. “Social Exclusion: The State of State U for Black Students” demonstrates how critical it is to fight back against Blum and SFFA for all students in higher education, not just Harvard students.

Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

Board of Directors, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

January 11, 2019

New Filings in the Harvard Lawsuit

As you may know, December and January brought another round of legal filings in the Blum-led SFFA v. Harvard lawsuit. Both SFFA and Harvard provided the court with their Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in late December. Harvard’s proposed findings and conclusions are here.  

This week, our legal team at NAACP LDF filed their own recommendations to the court on behalf of Coalition for a Diverse Harvard and 24 other co-amici organizations. You can read it here. As Jin Hee Lee, LDF Senior Deputy Director of Litigation, indicated in a press release, the amici witnesses who testified in court highlighted the ramifications of the court’s decision both for Harvard students and, potentially, for students in higher education throughout the US:


“The lived experiences of many students of color simply cannot be separated from their race. Through their testimonies in this trial, Harvard students, alumni, administrators, and experts consistently demonstrated the vital importance of race-conscious admissions to cultivating the educational benefits of diversity that are essential to a 21st century education.”


You can also watch this video as LDF Assistant Counsel Jennifer Holmes shares how we are urging the Massachusetts federal court to #DefendDiversity.

Lawyers from Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights Under Law also filed an additional Proposed Finding of Fact and Conclusions of Law on behalf of the individual student amici they represent, which you can access here. As their press release noted, “During the three-week trial, SFFA failed to put forth testimony from a single applicant who claimed to have been discriminated against. In contrast, four Student Amici who we represent and four Student Organizational Amici provided unrebutted testimony that the consideration of race is necessary because we live in a society where race continues to matter and racial inequities persist.”  


Both Harvard and SFFA, and, we expect, these two amicus groups will be back in court on February 13th for post-trial closing arguments at 2 pm.  The judge’s ruling will come later this year. As this will be the final day in court of the trial, we would like to make a strong showing at the courthouse. Please let us know if you might be able to join us there. We will have more information on plans for that day in the next few weeks.


Thanks to all of you for your support.  We wish you a happy and healthy 2019!




Jane, Jeannie, Kristin, Margaret, & Michael
Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

Board of Directors, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

November 20, 2018


The five board members and co-founders of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard are proud of the work the Coalition and its supporters have accomplished over almost three years. We have endorsed candidates in three Overseer and two Director elections; advocated for ethnic studies at Harvard; and joined the SFFA v. Harvard lawsuit. Along the way we have organized rallies, co-sponsored events in multiple states; started a website, created a Facebook group and a Twitter presence, appeared on television and radio and podcasts and in too many articles to count.

Now, as the Coalition starts its fourth year, we are asking you, as a Coalition supporter, to donate to help keep the Coalition running and also help make it possible for us to take on new challenges, consistent with our mission.

If you can make a year-end contribution to the Coalition, please click here to donate.

While the Coalition has expanded its public role, we five co-founders have taken the steps to turn the Coalition into a formal organization. We incorporated in July 2018 and are applying for not-for-profit status. The Coalition’s Board members obtained pro bono counsel to represent us as amicus in the Harvard lawsuit, and other pro bono counsel to assist us with incorporation and other business matters. Your donation will help offset significant out-of-pocket costs, including travel to meetings and the Boston rally and trial as well as the regular, recurring costs of CDH, including our website, a post office box, insurance, communication software, and food for events.  

Your donation will come at an important time. Though the trial in Boston has ended, there are still briefs to be submitted to the Court, conversations to be had with our counsel, and educating to be done on race-conscious admissions. The Coalition’s board members are supporting or presenting at five events in three different states this and next month. Another election season for Harvard’s Overseers and Elected Directors will start soon, and, as the court case winds down in Federal District Court, we want to intensify our efforts to support ethnic studies at Harvard.

As always, thank you for your kind attention and support and for defending diversity.


Jane, Jeannie, Kristin, Margaret, & Michael

Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

Board of Directors, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

November 14, 2018

Post-trial Update

We will have more to say on the trial evidence later, but for now we want to share with you some of the key trial events and coverage.  



The undisputed high point of the trial was the day of testimony from the amici witnesses: five students and three alums who represent the very best of Harvard. Prof. Margaret M. Chin ’84, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard board member and co-founder, testified powerfully about how inclusive policies shaped her own life and how her experiences with diverse classmates made her a better student and professional. Diverse Harvard member Sally Chen ‘19 and all the other amici witnesses electrified the courtroom, and the dozens of journalists present shared their stories far and wide. A selection of the coverage is below, and a partial testimony transcript is linked in the Washington Post article.

On behalf of Diverse Harvard and our 24 student and alumni group co-amici, Cara McClellan of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, delivered a powerful closing statement, excerpted here:

"In the words of Dean Fitzsimmons, “race is one part of a person’s life that [may] lead that person to be a great educator of others, about how to be a good citizen and citizen leader, not just at Harvard but later.” During this divisive time for our country, the need for citizen-leaders educated in diverse settings, remains as urgent as ever. . . .

Harvard’s diversity puts students in an environment where people of different backgrounds stop being faceless others, and become classmates, teammates, lab partners, and friends. In this process, stereotypes are undermined, cross-cultural relationships grow, and deeper understandings of complex social problems are formed. The testimony you have heard makes clear: diversity is one of the most meaningful aspects of the preparation that Harvard students receive. Harvard must be permitted to pursue the benefits of diversity if it is to fulfill its educational mission."


In the next months, the parties will be submitting proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.  Final arguments will be heard on Wed, Feb. 13, 2 pm, at the John Moakley Courthouse in Boston, Courtroom 17. If you would like a #DefendDiversity amici t-shirt to wear to the final argument, let us know, and we will arrange to get you one while supplies last.


If you are in the LA area on December 2nd, please plan to attend a Diverse Harvard co-sponsored event: “In Support of Diversity: A Panel Discussion on the Harvard Lawsuit.” Click here for more information and tickets.


Finally, we have a treat for you.  If you have time for nothing else, spend 22 minutes watching Hasan Minhaj’s hilarious and penetrating Patriot Act episode on the Harvard lawsuit.


Jane, Jeannie, Kristin, Margaret, & Michael

Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

Board of Directors, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

October 21, 2018

Update on the Trial and Rally


After a Week of Action and a week of trial, we could not be prouder of the activism of our members around the country, on the Harvard campus, and in the Boston federal courtroom. We thank you for speaking out and showing up.

The Week of Action leading up to the start of the Harvard admissions trial featured:

  • A social media campaign led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA in which a multitude of individuals and organizations showed our united commitment to fight for racial justice, education equity, and representation for people of all backgrounds in every classroom and boardroom in America. #DefendDiversity

  • An Open Letter to the Class of 2023 endorsed by 70 groups and signed by hundreds of individuals.


  • On-campus teach-ins, panel discussions, celebrations, #DefendDiversity photoshoots and poster-making sessions hosted by Native Americans at Harvard College, Asian American Women’s Association, Harvard College Democrats, Task Force on Asian and Pacific American Studies, and students groups at the Kennedy School and Graduate School of Education. The students were fired up and so effective in spreading their social justice messages.


  • A #DefendDiversity Rally and March for Opportunity and Equality last Sunday, Oct. 14, that could not have been more inspiring! Attended by hundreds of students, alumni, and community allies, the rally was both a protest against a lawsuit that seeks to eliminate race-conscious admissions and a celebration of the rich educational and workplace communities created by inclusive policies. Students, alums, faculty, and community and labor leaders delivered powerful speeches, and 21 Colorful Crimson, a musical group of 21 sophomores of diverse backgrounds and gifts, gave a spectacular performance. Video of the rally is at 18 Million Rising, and more photos are here.  


The Trial


When the  SFFA v. Harvard trial opened this past Monday, members of the public and press overflowed the courtroom and filled two other rooms with video feeds. Members of Diverse Harvard were present wearing our bright blue shirts listing the 25 amici organizations on the back, which was noted in numerous press reports.  We were so proud to hear the opening statement of Jenny Holmes, a lawyer on the fantastic NAACP Legal Defense Fund team representing us, which we urge you to read here.


The Crimson (as well as other media) is publishing daily roundups. As you read, please keep in mind that the plaintiffs are still in the middle of putting on their case, and Harvard will not begin its case for another week or so. The trial is expected to last at least two more weeks.


Los Angeles event

Southern California members, you are invited to the following program to be co-sponsored by Diverse Harvard and 7 other alumni organizations that support inclusive admissions:

In Support of Diversity: A Panel Discussion About The Harvard Lawsuit

Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 @ 7 pm, $15 per person, location TBA. Please register here.



Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

First Generation Harvard Alumni

Harvard Alumni For Education

Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance

Harvard Black Alumni Association

Harvard Latino Alumni Alliance

Harvard Law School Association of Los Angeles




Thank you!


Jane, Jeannie, Kristin, Margaret, & Michael


Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

Board of Directors, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

October 04, 2018

On the eve of the admissions trial, which begins Mon., Oct. 15, join members of more than 40 national civil rights groups, community organizations and Harvard alumni, student and staff associations to show our support for policies that support diversity, equity and opportunity. Detailed info is here. A media advisory with contact info is here. A Facebook event you can share is here.


WHEN AND WHERE: 11:00 AM, Sunday, Oct. 14th, 2018, in Harvard Square


Please come and ask your friends to join you! Be among the first 25 Diverse Harvard members to respond and get a free #DefendDiversity t-shirt at the rally! Special invitation to the Classes of 1973, 1978 and 1988, who will be attending their Reunions that weekend!​ 

October 04, 2018


The Harvard trial kicks off Mon., Oct. 15. This case is about much more than a few seats at Harvard; it's about the future of diversity in campuses across our country.

We ask all members of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard to stand together with other social justice organizations to #DefendDiversity.  Here’s how you can help during a week of action to show our united commitment to fight for racial justice, education equity, and representation for people of all backgrounds in every classroom and workplace in America.  


Sign up here to participate in our digital week of action from Mon., Oct. 8 through Fri., Oct. 12.   



Read and sign it here.




Come to Cambridge for our Solidarity Rally for Equality and Opportunity

Sun., Oct. 14, 11 am

Harvard Square to Cambridge Common


Join First Generation Harvard Alumni, Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance, Harvard Black Alumni Society, Harvard Latino Alumni Alliance, Harvard University Muslim Alumni, Native American Alumni of Harvard University, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, students, community allies and national civil rights organizations to support inclusive, race-conscious policies in schools and workplaces that create diversity, address inequities and recognize each of us for the richness of our backgrounds and experiences. Updated info will be here.


Please come and ask your friends to join you! Be among the first 25 Diverse Harvard members to respond and get a free #DefendDiversity t-shirt at the rally!

Special invitation to the Classes of 1973, 1978 and 1988, who will be attending their Reunions that weekend!




Celebrate the diversity of the Harvard campus at the incredible array of events being organized by Harvard students in the week before the trial starts.  See list here.


  • ATTEND the TRIAL in Boston


Yesterday, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard and 24 other amici were granted permission to participate in the Harvard trial. Our counsel, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, will make an opening statement and present witnesses.   


If you will be in Boston, please attend the trial, even for an hour or two, in order to show our support for diversity, equity, and inclusion!


The trial, at the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse, begins Mon., Oct. 15 and is expected to last three weeks. The Harvard Black Law Students Association is coordinating trial attendance.  If you can attend, please email us, and we will send additional logistical information.


Thanks for all your support,


Jane, Jeannie, Kristin, Margaret, & Michael


Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

Board of Directors, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

September 01, 2018

Diverse Harvard Responds as Trump's DOJ Aligns with Blum in Lawsuit


In recent days, activity in the Harvard admissions lawsuit has exploded.  Both anti-civil rights activist Edward Blum and Harvard filed responses to their cross-motions for summary judgment. Numerous prominent organizations -- including the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard -- and scholars filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Harvard’s admissions policies and condemning the threat the lawsuit poses to diversity at all American colleges.  Most significantly, the Trump Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest supporting Blum’s efforts to bar all consideration of race in admissions.


In the lead article in the 8/31/18 New York Times, our own Jeannie Park responded:  


“It’s alarming that Trump is aligning himself with anti-civil rights activist Edward Blum in this subversive attempt to say that civil rights protections cause discrimination,” said Jeannie Park, the head of the Harvard Asian-American Alumni Alliance and co-founder of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, referring to the founder of Students for Fair Admissions. “Trump does not speak for Asian-Americans, just as Blum does not.”


Here are highlights from six amicus briefs filed on Aug. 30.

  • Coalition for a Diverse Harvard and 24 other student and alumni organizations, represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF)


In our second motion and amicus brief, linked in LDF’s press release, we are proud to be joined by four additional organizations: Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance, the Harvard Black Alumni Society, the Association of Black Harvard Women, and 21 Colorful Crimson (see their declarations linked in the press release). Our brief argues that removing race from the admissions process would not rectify any discrimination against Asian Americans but would instead deepen racial disparities in admission rates and result in an advantage for white applicants. Black, Latinx, Native American, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander applicants would be disproportionately impacted.  

Moreover, colleges cannot assemble a diverse student body without considering how race affects each applicant’s opportunity to build a strong college application. Applicants of color face racial bias in standardized testing and extreme inequities in primary and secondary education due to implicit racial bias and structural racism. These students are more likely to have less-experienced teachers; go to schools that lack a college counselor, art instruction, or extracurricular activities; and be subjected to discipline that removes them from their classrooms and deprives them of valuable instructional time.


  • 531 academic experts on Asian American Studies, race, and access to education


This brief signed by 531 scholars, linked here, addresses (1) why Asian American applicants, like applicants of all races, benefit from Harvard’s whole-person review process; and (2) why SFFA’s arguments are based on racial myths and stereotypes of Asian Americans. “The case against Harvard does not . . . fit with the research of hundreds of Asian American scholars and social scientists who study Asian Americans or access to higher education,” says Dr. Janelle Wong, professor of Asian American Studies at the University of Maryland.


  • ACLU’s call for lawsuit’s dismissal and preservation of college’s right to promote diversity


“Considering race as one of many factors in order to create a diverse student-body is not only a worthy institutional goal of a university, it’s one protected by the Supreme Court. Students who learn from each other and are exposed to a variety of experiences, backgrounds, interests, and talents are better prepared for a pluralistic society. Refusing to recognize race or any other characteristic in admissions is inconsistent with the value of considering each person individually. Claiming not to see color simply recycles the tired myth of a post-racial America. If you cannot acknowledge someone’s race, you risk not acknowledging them.”  The ACLU’s press release, which links it amicus brief, is linked here.


  • AALDEF and 34 Asian American groups and faculty


Groups including 18 Million Rising, Asian American Psychological Association, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Japanese American Citizens League, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center joined the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund. "Asian Americans are an extremely diverse population with more than 50 ethnic groups, 100 languages, and a broad range of immigration, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds, says AALDEF director Margaret Fung in a press release which links their brief.  “Instead of treating Asian Americans as a monolithic group, the individualized race-conscious admissions process at Harvard helps to create a more diverse student body that benefits all students, including Asian Americans."  In this brief, amici contend that by improperly grouping the diverse pool of Asian American applicants into a single "Asian" category, the plaintiff actually perpetuates the "model minority" myth and fails to disclose that its requested remedy--the elimination of race-conscious admissions--would mostly benefit white applicants, not Asian Americans.

  • Leading economists and statisticians


These amici include a Nobel laureate, four former Chief Economists of federal agencies, current and former university administrators, editors of peer-reviewed journals, and professors whose research focuses on higher education, including Diverse Harvard member Susan Dynarski. Their brief states that Harvard’s expert Dr. David Card is one of the most outstanding and respected scholars in the field of econometrics and applied economics, that his statistical analyses in this case were methodologically sound, and that the plaintiff’s criticisms of Dr. Card’s modeling approach are not based on sound statistical principles or practices.

  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Representing prospective, current, and former students, the brief filed by Lawyers’ Committee  and AAAJ asserts “ our elite institutions cannot be colorblind in a world full of color, nor may they be indifferent to a world full of difference. The constitution recognizes this need, permitting race-conscious admissions when certain requirements are met. Here, Harvard meets such requirements for narrow tailoring.”


The federal judge now must decide the summary judgment motions submitted by Harvard and by Edward Blum’s organization. If the judge denies both motions, as expected, the trial in the lawsuit is scheduled for October 15, 2018. The judge will also decide the requests of various organizations, including Diverse Harvard through our counsel NAACP Legal Defense Fund, to participate in the case.



Jane, Margaret, Jeannie, Kristin, and Michael

Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

Coalition for a Diverse Harvard Board of Directors

August 13, 2018

Students and Alumni Stand Together in Admissions Lawsuit

We could not be prouder of the amicus brief that the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) submitted on our behalf in the Harvard lawsuit on July 30.  Please take a look at our request to participate as amici curiae here and brief here. We are thrilled that 20 other Harvard student and alumni organizations joined the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard on the brief:

  • Harvard-Radcliffe Black Student Association

  • Kuumba Singers of Harvard College

  • Fuerza Latina of Harvard

  • Native Americans at Harvard College

  • Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association

  • Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Women’s Association

  • Harvard Asian American Brotherhood

  • Harvard Vietnamese Association

  • Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Students Association

  • Harvard Korean Association

  • Harvard Japan Society

  • Harvard South Asian Association

  • Harvard Islamic Society

  • Task Force on Asian and Pacific American Studies at Harvard College

  • Harvard Phillips Brooks House Association

  • Harvard Minority Association of Pre-medical Students

  • First Generation Harvard Alumni

  • Native American Alumni of Harvard University

  • Harvard University Muslim Alumni

  • Harvard Latino Alumni Alliance


The compelling declarations submitted on behalf of the amici organizations, including that of Diverse Harvard’s Margaret M. Chin, PhD, are linked here.

As noted by one of our counsel, Jin Hee Lee, LDF’s Senior Deputy Director of Litigation:

The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that colleges have the right to consider race as one of multiple factors when reviewing the full spectrum of an applicant’s identity and academic potential. This lawsuit may claim to represent the interests of Asian American students, but in reality, it is an unabashed attempt to eliminate important efforts to foster diversity in college campuses to the detriment of all students, including Asian Americans.


Harvard’s opposition to the summary judgment motion filed by anti-civil rights activist Edward Blum is here, along with additional amicus briefs supporting Harvard filed by the American Council on Education; 16 colleges and universities; Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Asian Americans Advancing Justice; and former solicitor general Walter Dellinger.

Our amicus brief was covered in the New York Times, the Boston Globe (here and here), and the Harvard Gazette, in which Diverse Harvard’s Jeannie Park discusses why we entered the lawsuit.  

In the Boston Globe article Harvard Lawsuit Divides Many in Asian American Community Lee Cheng ‘93, an Ed Blum ally and unsuccessful 2016 Free Harvard Fair Harvard overseer candidate, lashed out at our co-amici Harvard Asian American students, asserting that they have no right to advocate for an inclusive admissions policy that they have benefited from and comparing them to children of slave-owners arguing that slavery should remain in place. As Jeannie Park responded for Diverse Harvard in a letter to the editor, this tactic seeks to both divide communities of color and de-legitimize the majority of Asian Americans and others who support the limited use of race in admissions as a tool to address persistent inequities in educational opportunity created by American racism.  


In case you missed the fascinating and inspiring Affirmative Action Twitter Town Hall organized by Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA, read it here at #NotYourCover, a Twitter Storm that yielded nearly 1.5 million page views.  

As the lawsuit progresses, Diverse Harvard will continue to speak out in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will continue to explore issues in the admissions process from test scores to personal ratings. The next round of court filings will occur at the end of this month as we head towards an expected Oct. 15th trial date in federal court in Boston. 


Thank you for your support!



Jane, Margaret, Jeannie, Kristin, and Michael

Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

Steering Committee of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard

July 29, 2018

Amicus Motion and Brief

As the summer heats up, so does the admissions lawsuit brought by anti-civil rights activist Edward Blum against Harvard.  We are delighted to announce that an amicus brief will be filed on our behalf in the lawsuit tomorrow.


After carefully considering evidence presented by both parties in the lawsuit, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard steering committee decided to ask the court to grant us amicus (friend of the court) status so that we can convey our support of Harvard’s whole-person admissions practices that consider race as one factor throughout the lawsuit.  See our analysis, "Lawsuit Update: A Look Behind the Hype," here. We have retained the esteemed NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) to represent us pro bono, and we are proud to be joined on the amicus brief by First Generation Harvard Alumni, Native American Alumni of Harvard University and many other student and alumni organizations representing Harvard students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Click here to read more.

June 27, 2018


Earlier this month, we shared information about Edward Blum’s lawsuit, SFFA v. Harvard, which seeks to ban inclusive, whole-person admissions practices nationwide and asks for a ruling that “any use of race or ethnicity in the educational setting” is unlawful.


On June 15th, both sides filed summary judgment motions arguing that that they should win the case without a trial. We’re sure you saw the ensuing flood of press coverage, some of it misleading and serving Blum’s aim of fracturing communities of color.  


Since June 15th, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard’s steering committee has spent hundreds of hours reviewing and discussing the lawsuit documents. While more evidence will emerge, based on what we have seen so far, Harvard does not intentionally discriminate against Asian Americans or employ racial quotas, nor has SFFA established that Harvard’s consideration of race, as one among many factors, causes bias against Asian Americans.


Following are some key points from the court papers. To review the court papers yourself, see SFFA’s filings here and Harvard’s here.

Click here to read our full analysis.

June 14, 2018


As you may know from an email earlier this week from President Faust, inclusive, holistic admissions at Harvard and in higher education at large are under threat from a lawsuit brought by Edward Blum under the guise of "Students for Fair Admissions” (SFFA). As part of our mission to fight for diversity, equity and inclusion, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard decries Blum's ultimate goal of banning any consideration of race in admissions and his divisive tactics. We write to help you be as informed as possible and to encourage you to share information with others. We anticipate a flood of communication and spin in the coming days, and to help you evaluate it, we want to highlight:

  • Who is behind the lawsuit and their ultimate motives

  • Our belief that inclusive, holistic admissions practices are crucial to achieving the multi-dimensional diversity that is key to Harvard’s educational mission

  • The importance of viewing data and other evidence critically once both sides are heard.​​

Click here to read more.

May 25, 2018

Diverse Harvard Congratulates the Newly Elected Overseers and Directors

The Board of Overseers and Elected Directors election results were announced yesterday. We are delighted that 4 of the 5 of the Overseer candidates and all 5 Elected Director candidates endorsed by the Coalition for A Diverse Harvard were elected.


Congratulations to the new Overseers:

  • Geraldine Acuña-Sunshine

  • Philip Cullom

  • Meredith “Max” Hodges

  • Marilyn Holifield

  • Diego Rodriguez

  • Yvette Roubideaux


and the new Elected Directors:

  • Collette Creppell

  • Sid Espinosa

  • Krishnan Subrahmanian

  • Natosha Reid Rice

  • Bella Wong

  • Rashid Yasin


We look forward to efforts by all of these new officials to promote diversity and inclusion and equity at Harvard.  Six overseers were elected this year, rather than the usual five, because one overseer, Jane Lubchenco, resigned due to professional obligations.

Thank you to all of you for continuing to use your votes and your voices to ensure that Harvard is vigilant and forward-thinking on these matters. It seems clear from the election results, as well as from the candidates' responses to the Diversity Questionnaire, that we have had, and continue to have, an impact.

We seek ways to bring you and other alumni together beyond the Harvard elections. Please share your ideas with us. We also continue to build our member list (currently over one thousand!) and encourage you to get friends to sign up here. And please join our Facebook group, where we will continue to post information about diversity at Harvard and related issues.

In that vein, as we head towards the October trial date of Edward Blum’s anti-affirmative action lawsuit, we want to share this report on the newly admitted class.


As the Crimson notes, this past year saw a record number of applications, with 75.5 percent applying for financial aid and 25.9 percent requesting an application fee waiver. Women slightly outnumbered men. Applications from African Americans increased 18.7 percent and from Asian Americans 14.9 percent, higher than the 8 percent increase in the pool overall.


And here are the admission statistics as reported in the Crimson:

Women make up 50.1 percent of the admitted class, compared to last year’s 49.2 percent. The percentage of minority admits rose across racial groups relative to last year’s levels. A record 15.5 percent of admitted students are African American, up from last year’s 14.6 percent. Latino admits increased to 12.2 percent from last year’s 11.6 percent. Native American admits grew marginally this year to 2 percent, up from last year’s 1.9 percent. Asian American admits went up to a record 22.7 percent, compared to last year’s 22.2 percent.

The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard steering committee is exploring ways in which we can continue to share our perspective in favor of holistic, race-conscious admissions.  Thanks again to our Candidate Review Committee, and to the alumni groups who also distributed the Diversity Questionnaire.

Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

Members of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard Nominations and Steering Committees

March 30, 2018

Diverse Harvard Endorsements for Overseer and Elected Director


Today, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard endorses Harvard Overseer and Director candidates who we believe will best support campus diversity. This year’s candidate pool has the strongest commitment to diversity that we have seen yet, as evidenced by the detailed and thoughtful responses to the Diversity Questionnaire.  In addition, we appreciate that the Harvard Alumni Association has nominated such a diverse set of candidates.

The candidates endorsed by the Coalition are (in ballot order):

For Overseer:

Marilyn Holifield J.D. ’72

Geraldine Acuña-Sunshine A.B. ’92 cum laude, M.P.P. ’96

Yvette Roubideaux A.B. ’85 cum laude, M.D. ’89, M.P.H. '97

John C. Lechleiter A.M. ’80, Ph.D. '80

Diego A. Rodriguez M.B.A. ’01 with distinction


For Director:

Krishnan Namboodiri Subrahmanian A.B. ’03 magna cum laude

Natosha Reid Rice A.B. ’93 cum laude, J.D. ’97

Rashid Muhammed Yasin S.B. ’12 cum laude

Sid Espinosa M.P.P. ’00

Bella T. Wong A.B. ’82, Ed.M. ’91

We note that the Overseer candidates include Yvette Roubideaux, the former director of the Indian Health Service who is likely the first Native American candidate, and John Lechleiter, former CEO of Eli Lilly, which has in recent years been highly ranked on a range of diversity metrics. The director candidates include Sid Espinosa, a former Palo Alto mayor who is openly gay, and our own Rashid Yasin, president of the Harvard University Muslim Alumni and an early and dedicated member of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard.

The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard looks for leaders who will be proactive in helping Harvard be a more diverse institution.  The Candidate Review Committee evaluates candidates based not only on their responses to the Diversity Questionnaire and their ballot statements (linked here and here) but on their history of advocacy and accomplishments on diversity initiatives.

All of the Director candidates, and seven of the eight Overseers candidates, submitted responses to the Diversity Questionnaire. The Candidate Review Committee found that all the candidates who responded have made stellar contributions to their communities and professions, and we appreciate that they took the time to respond.

Finally, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard thanks our supporters. We urge all alumni to vote in this year’s elections.  Another strong showing by the Coalition will help us in our efforts to promote Ethnic Studies, a center on race and ethnicity, and affirmative action.

Please vote when you receive your ballot in the next couple weeks, and thank you for supporting diversity at Harvard.

And please email your Harvard alum friends and post on Facebook and Twitter!

The Candidate Review Committee 

Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Laura Dumbach '84, Neimy Escobar '15, Kevin Jennings '85, Kristin R. Penner '89, Nura Sediqe MPP '12, Tab Timothy Stewart '88, Michael Williams '81, Ivy Yan '15

September 08, 2017

Coalition urges Presidential Search Committee to consider diversity issues, candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and the need for ethnic studies


As suggested by several supporters, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard Steering Committee responded to the request from the Harvard University Presidential Search Committee for input with the following letter (click here for larger version): ​

                                                                                                                                   September 8, 2017


William F. Lee

Senior Fellow, Harvard Corporation

Harvard University Presidential Search Committee

Dear Mr. Lee and Members of the Presidential Search Committee,


As the founders of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, an organization established last year which now has more than 1,000 alumni and student supporters, we write to share our thoughts on the presidential search.


First, however, we wish to thank President Faust for her efforts to make Harvard a more diverse and inclusive community, including the expansion of financial aid and first generation initiatives during her tenure, the strengthening of procedures to prevent and address sexual assault, her concern about the impact of exclusive single-gender social organizations, her support for affirmative action, and her defense of undocumented students and DACA.


At a time when divisions in our nation are being virulently promoted based on race, ethnicity, immigrant background, religion, gender, and sexuality, we urge you to select a President who is fully committed to making Harvard “a community enriched, not embattled, by difference and diversity” and to playing a leading role in healing wounds and divisions in the world beyond Harvard, in President Faust’s words.


Given that Harvard’s selection of its President will have an immense impact and influence in international academia for years to come, we hope you will exhaustively seek to identify, recruit, and consider candidates from diverse backgrounds, including candidates of color, LGBTQ candidates, and candidates from other underrepresented groups. In addition, we urge you to consider each candidate’s experience working with underrepresented groups and leading multicultural institutions. As you may know, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard along with other alumni groups has asked Harvard Overseer and Harvard Alumni Association Elected Director candidates to comment on:


• how important diversity should be at Harvard,

• what strategies the University should pursue to achieve diversity,

• their views on affirmative action and race-conscious admissions,

• what Harvard’s role should be in creating a more equitable, inclusive, and just society, and

• what steps the candidates have taken to bring diversity and inclusion to their workplaces or organizations they have been involved with.

Many Harvard alumni have weighed the candidates’ responses, published on the Coalition’s website, in casting their ballots. We urge you to ask each presidential candidate a similar set of questions during the application process.


We believe that it is imperative that the next president be fully committed to developing, hiring, and promoting faculty and administrators of color as well as to strengthening ethnic studies throughout the University. Over the past 45 years, Harvard students have submitted 12 different proposals for ethnic studies at Harvard. In the past year alone, more than 1,000 Harvard affiliates have signed a petition urging support for ethnic studies, but there is currently neither a concentration nor a department of ethnic studies at Harvard. Harvard should be at the forefront of teaching, learning, and research in an academic field that seeks to examine some of the most fundamental and pressing questions of our time, and all Harvard students should be exposed to the critical study of race and ethnicity as part of their general education as “citizens and citizen leaders for our society.” 


Only a full commitment by our next president will allow Harvard to bring its ethnic studies programs to the level of those of other universities, such as Yale, Brown, Stanford, and Columbia. Shockingly, even though students of color comprise a majority of the Class of 2021, and 21.6% of the Class is Asian American, not a single Asian American studies course is being offered at Harvard this semester.


We appreciate the opportunity to share these concerns with you. Please contact us if we can provide any assistance.


Very truly yours,


Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard Steering Committee

May 20, 2017

2017 Overseers and Directors Election Results


The Board of Overseers and Elected Directors election results were announced yesterday. We are delighted that all 5 of the Overseer candidates and 3 of the 4 Elected Director candidates endorsed by the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard were elected.


Congratulations to the new Overseers: 

Paul L.  Choi

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

Darienne Driver

Carla Harris

Leslie Tolbert 


and the new Elected Directors:

Sangu Julius Delle

Paola Peacock Friedrich

Martha Abbruzzese Genieser

Sachin Jain

Elena Hahn Kiam

Ronald P. Mitchell 


We look forward to efforts by all these new officials to promote diversity and inclusion and equity at Harvard.


Thank you to all of you for continuing to use your votes and your voices to ensure that Harvard is vigilant and forward-thinking on these matters. It seems clear from the election results, as well as from the candidates' responses to the Diversity Questionnaire, that we have had an impact. 


We seek ways to bring you and other alumni together beyond the Harvard elections. Please share your ideas with us. We also continue to build our supporter list (currently at 950) and encourage you to get friends to sign up on our website. And please join our Facebook group, where we will continue to post information about diversity at Harvard and related issues.  


Thanks again to our Candidate Review Committee, and to the alumni groups who also signed the Diversity Questionnaire. Have a great weekend!


Jane, Margaret, Jeannie, Kristin, and Michael


Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81

The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard Steering Committee

April 02, 2017

Coalition Endorses Five Overseer Candidates and Four Director Candidates in 2017 Election


The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard endorses the following Harvard Overseer and Elected Director candidates who we believe will best support campus diversity (in ballot order):

For Overseer:
Darienne B. Driver EdM ’06, EdD ’14
Paul L. Choi AB ’86, JD ’89
Carla Harris AB ’84, MBA ’87
Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar AB ’93
Leslie P. Tolbert AB ’73, PhD ’78

For Elected Director:


Nathaniel Q. Belcher M.Arch. ’92; 

Paola A. Peacock Friedrich S.M. ’06, Ed.L.D. ’14

Sangu Julius Delle A.B. ’10, J.D. ’17, M.B.A. ’17 (expected)

Sachin H. Jain A.B. ’02, M.D. ’06, M.B.A. ’07


Our endorsements are based on the Coalition's Candidate Review Committee evaluation of the candidates' responses to the Diversity Questionnairetheir ballot statements, and research conducted by Committee members.  Alumni may vote for up to five Overseer candidates and six Director candidates.
Please note that the Candidate Review Committee found all the candidates have made stellar contributions to their communities and professions, and we appreciate that they took the time to respond to the diversity questionnaire. 

Please vote when you receive your ballot in the next couple weeks (completed ballots must be received  by 5 pm EDT on Tuesday, May 16), and thank you for supporting diversity at Harvard.

Candidate Review Committee

Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Laura Dumbach '84, Kevin Jennings '85, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, Tab Timothy Stewart '88, Michael Williams '81, Ivy Yan '15, Rashid Yasin '12

March 27, 2017

2017 Overseer and Director Elections


In 2016, issues of diversity—particularly racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity—at Harvard and beyond were a major topic of discussion in the Harvard Overseers election, in large part due to a petition slate with anti-affirmative action views. In response, Harvard and Radcliffe alumni launched the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard. The Coalition developed a questionnaire about diversity for the Overseers candidates, sent the questionnaire in conjunction with other alumni groups, shared the candidates’ responses and endorsed five of the candidates.

The events of the past year show us that issues of diversity and inclusion are more critical than ever at Harvard and beyond. Diversity issues are front and center throughout the University and are being examined by President Faust and Harvard leadership.


It’s time for this year’s election for Harvard Overseers, as well as for directors of the Harvard Alumni Association. The University will mail ballots for both elections by April 1, and ballots must be received back in Cambridge by 5 pm EDT on May 16.

Earlier this month the Coalition sent a questionnaire relating to diversity at Harvard to all candidates for the Overseer and Harvard Alumni Association Elected Director positions at Harvard. We were joined in that effort by:

First Generation Harvard Alumni

Harvard Alumnae of Color

Harvard Arab Alumni Association

Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance

Harvard Black Alumni Society

Harvard Gender & Sexuality Caucus

Harvard Latino Alumni Alliance

Harvard South Asian Alumni Alliance

Harvard University Muslim Alumni

Native American Alumni of Harvard University 

All of the candidates have responded to the questionnaire, and their responses will be available soon on this website. The Coalition’s Candidate Review Committee is reviewing the candidates’ responses.  Any recommendations made by the Coalition will be emailed to supporters and posted here on our website and on our Facebook page by April 1, 2017.

As always, the Coalition believes deeply in diversity as a core and indispensable component of the Harvard community and of a Harvard education. Our focus in last year's Overseers election was to support an admissions process that seeks to admit students whose unique passions, talents, and personal qualities from across geographies, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, and racial and ethnic backgrounds will contribute to Harvard's greater sense of community.


Please exercise your right to vote! Thank you.

Steering Committee

Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, Michael Williams '81


May 23, 2016

Congratulations to the Newly Elected Overseers!


The results of the Board of Overseers election have just been announced. The alumni have rejected the FHFH slate, electing five candidates nominated by the Harvard Alumni Association!


Congratulations to the elected candidates:


Lindsay Chase-Lansdale

Ketanji Brown Jackson,

Alejandro Ramírez Magaña

Helena Buonanno Foulkes

Kent Walker


We are confident that diversity and race-conscious admissions will be supported by all these new Overseers, and we look forward to Board initiatives that will further promote a fair and inclusive University. We'd like to thank all eight candidates who were nominated by the HAA  for their work on behalf of Harvard, for stepping up to lead and for their graciousness in this unexpectedly contentious election.


With 35,870 alumni casting votes, a 36% increase over last year, we know that your advocacy around this election made a difference. You have sent a message that will ring beyond Harvard's walls about what is important in higher education. Thank you for all that you did and for joining together to create a powerful alumni voice.


Unfortunately, the attacks on race-conscious admissions are likely to continue. A lawsuit was filed today attacking admissions policies at Brown, Dartmouth and Yale. Individuals and organizations that serve Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities may sign on to the following national statement in support of affirmative action here. If there are ways we might support alumni at those schools, we will let you know.


Thank you again, and enjoy the week, including any Reunions you may be attending!












May 20, 2016

As the Election Closes, Thank You!


Voting in the Overseers Election ended at noon today, and no matter the results, we are grateful to each of our supporters—now 929 strong—for your advocacy to protect diversity at Harvard. 


Ever since Diverse Harvard's launch on March 1st, you have put yourselves on the line to defend the values that we share. You roped in your friends, critiqued our emails and strategy, jumped into raucous Facebook debates (taking the occasional direct hit), researched and vetted the candidates, fielded questions from the press, collected hundreds of email addresses, spoke up at alumni events, spotted relevant news and posts in obscure places, wrote thoughtful essays, sent pointed and funny Tweets—and reminded and reminded everyone to vote! Anecdotally, it seems that many alumni did in fact vote for the first time. If nothing else, together we proved that no matter the time and distance between us and Harvard, we will rise up when it matters. And diversity matters. 


So, again, THANK YOU. And please share these thanks with friends and classmates who have supported Diverse Harvard but perhaps didn't sign up. We continue to welcome new signers—who knows when this Coalition may need to act once more? 

May 12, 2016

Mail Your Ballot Today, Before It's Too Late!


We know that some of you are still hanging onto your ballot, but it's time to drop it in the mail so that it arrives before next Friday, May 20th. Remind your friends too, and let's get this done so that you don't have to open another email nor read another post about the Overseers again!


To best safeguard campus diversity, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard endorses:  Ketanji Brown Jackson, John J. Moon, Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, Damian Woetzel, P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale


And we appreciate the support of Elected Director candidates David Battat, Farai Chideya, Rye Barcott, Victor Jih, Michael Payne.


Thank you to all the Coalition Supporters—more than 900 alumni—for taking a stand for a #diverseharvard! We hope there will be good news soon.


If you plan to send your ballot by an express service, you must still seal your ballot inside the original ballot-return envelope or it will not count. If a street address is required, send the whole thing (to arrive by May 19!) to:


          Kate Freed

          Harvard Alumni Association

          124 Mt. Auburn Street, 6th floor

          Cambridge, MA 02138


You can find more details on our Elections FAQs page. 

Tell us you voted by clicking here.

April 20, 2016


Today's Crimson brings "On the Fallacy of Free Harvard/Fair Harvard," by Daniel M. Lobo '14, the first in his family to attend college. Dan speaks of the "transformative experience" of Harvard that the FHFH Unz/Nader platform would "undermine and compromise." Critical to Harvard becoming more welcoming to "students from disadvantaged beginnings," says Lobo, is "its admissions process—a process that considers the whole person and serves as the key to unlocking a diverse educational experience...There’s no quota or magic number. "


Monday's Page One Globe story, originally titled, "Leader of bid to shake up Harvard board linked to white supremacist writers," amplified the revelations previously reported by the Crimson:  "The race veered into new territory last week, after opponents of Unz brought to light his funding of some authors and researchers with views critics brand as white supremacist, including several who write for a website that professes 'diversity per se is not strength, but a vulnerability.'"  For the Crimson article, "Overseers Candidate Donates to ‘Quasi-White Nationalist’ Group," click here.


That Unz may disagree with the words of the authors he funds or sprinkles money around to a range of viewpoints doesn't change or mitigate the fact that he finances hate speech. None of the other FHFH candidates have renounced their affiliation with Unz. Let's make sure they do not gain a foothold on the Board of Overseers!


Defeat the Unz/Nader "Free Harvard" petitioners by voting for these five Overseer candidates (all nominated by the Harvard Alumni Association): Ketanji Brown Jackson, John J. Moon, Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, Damian Woetzel, and Lindsay Chase-Lansdale.


Let us know you voted! Click here, and let's start counting!

April 14, 2016


Earlier today, the Crimson broke a shocking story about FHFH slate leader Ron Unz.  


Click here to read the entire story, which states:


•    “Free Harvard” petition slate leader Ron Unz  "has donated tens of thousands of dollars to an organization he describes as ‘quasi-white nationalist’" over the course of his career.

•    "Unz’s public tax filings connect the Silicon Valley multimillionaire with VDARE, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as an ‘anti-immigration hate website,’ in addition to several writers who have published articles arguing that white people are genetically superior and homosexuality is a transmittable disease, among other extreme views."


The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard believes that Harvard should welcome a diversity of ideologies, but not those that promote racism or hate speech. We urge alumni to vote against the Unz-led slate and the hateful messages he funds.  


For our best chance to defeat the “Free Harvard” petition slate, please use all five of your Overseer votes to support these HAA-nominated candidates (in ballot order) endorsed by the Coalition: 


Ketanji Brown Jackson
John J. Moon 
Alejandro Ramírez Magaña
Damian Woetzel
Lindsay Chase-Lansdale 


If you are not a supporter of the Coalition yet, please sign up here so that you can receive further updates as this story develops.

April 11, 2016

FHFH's Ron Unz on admissions by lottery and Jewish representation


This past week brought Ron Unz to campus for a debate about the FHFH platform with two undergrads, who scored some terrific points. Notably, according to the Crimson, Unz reiterated his position that admissions be decided by lottery, saying, “If we want true diversity, fair diversity, we should go with the random model, rather than the corrupt pseudo-diversity that we have right now at Ivies like Harvard."


We read a particularly illuminating post this week - you can post it on your own pages and raise awareness of Unz's views: 


By now you've probably heard a lot about this year's election for Board of Overseers. I want to add one more aspect that hasn't been reported on as much. Ron Unz, the leader of the "Free Harvard / Fair Harvard" slate, wrote the article linked here about how there are too many Jewish students at Harvard and too many Jews in positions of power. Unz criticizes "America’s 'academic diversity' movement—whose leadership has been overwhelmingly Jewish," and has the following to say about the contrast between the WASPs who used to dominate Harvard and the Jews who are allowed to go there now:  "...this dominant group of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants—largely descended from among the earliest American settlers and which had gradually absorbed and assimilated substantial elements of Celtic, Dutch, German, and French background—was generally aligned in culture, religion, ideology, and ancestry with perhaps 60 percent of America’s total population at the time, and therefore hardly represented an alien presence. By contrast, a similarly overwhelming domination by a tiny segment of America’s current population, one which is completely misaligned in all these respects, seems far less inherently stable."


Jews are not "an alien presence," at Harvard or anywhere else in America. Anyone who thinks we are has no place on our Board of Overseers. I urge you to vote against Ron Unz and his slate.



The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard supports Harvard's commitment to a diverse and inclusive campus and to a holistic evaluation of each candidate's unique qualifications.