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NEWS DIGEST: 1/30/2020



Activist Groups Hold Reorientation Rally in Science Center | Harvard Crimson


Nine student activist groups rallied Monday as the semester began. “We welcomed our community back to the reality of a campus plagued by administrative inertia on many of the most critical issues we face, from denial of rights to Harvard’s student workers and the historical absence of an Ethnic Studies department, to the continued investment in the fossil fuel and prison industries.”


Denying a Professor Tenure, Harvard Sparks a Debate Over Ethnic Studies | New York Times


Some students of color say that even as the university defends its use of race in admissions, it devalues their experiences and fails to retain professors who support them.


107 Faculty Called for Review of Tenure Procedures in Letter to Dean Gay | Harvard Crimson

In the wake of several devastating and unexpected tenure denials, 107 faculty called for a comprehensive review of FAS tenure procedures with the principles of diversity, inclusion, and belonging in mind. 

Harvard Students Occupy Admissions Office to Protest Tenure Decision, Demand Ethnic Studies Department | Harvard Crimson


Catherine H. Ho ’21, who testified in the admissions trial, criticized Harvard for simultaneously “tokenizing” students of color while denying them access to diverse curricula and faculty mentors. “I am tired of Harvard using my story without giving me ethnic studies so I can fully understand what my story even means,” Ho said.

My mentor was denied tenure. Why should I stay in academia? | Boston Globe


A young academic’s path is paved by older faculty members who share research interests, parallel life experiences, and guidance on the long road from undergrad to a teaching appointment. If academics of color are routinely pushed out of academia by obscure, shadowy tenure processes — as they have been at Harvard and comparable institutions — there’s little hope that the racial and ethnic underrepresentation in academia will be fixed.


How a denial of tenure at Harvard became a national controversy |


Harvard senior Rosa Vazquez, who helped organize the recent protests, told the Boston Globe that the university has also recently lost four professors who teach ethnic studies. “We haven’t felt that our histories are welcomed in the classroom and everybody is frustrated.”


Scholars Criticize Bacow’s Response to Their Letter Demanding Review of Prof’s Tenure Case 

| Harvard Crimson


A group of more than 200 senior scholars who specialize in fields including ethnic studies, Latin American studies, and African American studies condemned President Bacow’s “one-paragraph” response, claiming it did not address their demand that the University reevaluate García Peña’s “superior” scholarly production and review her tenure decision.


Why Some Harvard Students Say An Ethnic Studies Department Is Needed Now | WBUR


Diverse Harvard members Liren Ma '20 and Liana Chow '21 on six days of protest: "Any given semester, we might be browsing the course catalog and wondering 'will there be any Asian American classes this semester?' Sometimes there are and sometimes there aren't." 

Yale receives $4 million Mellon Foundation grant to support race studies centers across four universities | YaleNews 

Harvard’s failure to build Ethnic Studies stands in stark contrast to programs at Yale, Brown, Stanford, and UChicago. 


Hard Truths: Why Only Race-Conscious Policies Can Fix Racism in Higher Education | Education Trust


“Racial inequalities remain, and, in some cases, have worsened because race-conscious policies were cut short, limiting their effectiveness. Policies that rely on substitutions (or proxies) for race, such as income, have not closed gaps in opportunity and outcomes for students of color.”


Some Final Thoughts on the SAT and ACT | Jon Boeckenstedt’s Admissions Weblog


College admissions expert Jon Boeckenstedt explains - for the last time - what’s wrong with using the SAT and ACT to determine who gets admitted. 


The Easiest Reform for College Admissions: Legacy admissions need to go. | The Atlantic

Tufts professor and Diverse Harvard member Natasha Warikoo EDM '97 PHD '05: Legacy is “a special admissions door for applicants who have already enjoyed major advantages in life. The irony is that legacy. . . has survived at elite institutions, while affirmative action now faces existential threats.” 

Time for colleges to end legacy admissions | Boston Globe editorial board

An “antiquated and indefensible deepening public cynicism about higher education and contributing to socioeconomic inequality.”


Why We Ended Legacy Admissions at Johns Hopkins | The Atlantic


JHU president Ronald Daniels: Legacy admissions “had come at a high cost. It was impairing our ability to educate qualified and promising students from all backgrounds and to help launch them up the social ladder.” So five years ago Hopkins eliminated the legacy admissions preference without telling anyone.


Hopkins says scrapping ‘legacy’ preference has boosted campus diversity | Washington Post

“Ditching the legacy preference helped the university build a more diverse student body without sacrificing academic quality. Not long ago, freshmen at the university with legacy connections outnumbered those who had enough financial need to qualify for federal Pell Grants. The opposite is true for the Class of 2023.”




Portrait Project Adds Diversity to Harvard’s Hallowed Walls | Harvard Gazette


The late Dr. Allen Counter recognized that contemporary portraits of distinguished individuals “who were underrepresented minorities could tell a compelling story that would be immediately apparent to all,” Harvard Foundation artist Stephen Coit said.

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