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in support of DIVERSITY at Harvard

Issues of diversity—particularly racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity—at Harvard and beyond have been pushed to the fore of the upcoming Harvard Overseers election. This year, the Harvard Alumni Association has nominated eight candidates for five Overseer positions. In addition, five outside candidates have petitioned to be added to the ballot under the slogan, "Free Harvard, Fair Harvard." 


As reported in the New York Times, four of the petition slate's five candidates "have written or testified extensively against affirmative action," and "several are known for their past advocacy against using race in admissions." "Their positions are in lock step with claims in a federal lawsuit" that if successful, Harvard says, "would overturn its efforts to build a racially diverse class."


As Harvard alumni and students, we call on members of the Harvard community to join this Coalition against the petition slate — and in favor of race-conscious and holistic admissions practices that support campus diversity.


We support a 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. 


Assembling a diverse student body and creating an environment where all students can thrive is central to Harvard's mission of improving the quality of education and creating successful citizens and leaders in a diverse nation and world. We believe there is no formula that can create this special mix of individuals, nor can the merit of the individuals be measured by test scores or grades alone.   

We urge Harvard degree holders to check the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard's website for its candidate recommendations before voting in April and May.

Sofia Bahena, Ed.M. '13, Ed.D. '14

Sujatha Baliga '93

LaMont J. Barlow '05      

Jane Sujen Bock '81

Paula Bock '86

Elise Boddie, JD & MPP '96

Sean J. Bolser '89

Nancy Boutilier ’83/’84

Karrye Y. Braxton '82 

Karen Angela Brown '87, MBA '91

John Anthony Butler, '80

Jonathan Cahn '80, JD '84

Maria Carmona '85

Tracy Carroll '82

 David H. Chan '83

Jennifer Chang '07

May Y. Chen '70

Pauline W. Chen '86

Annette Chin '88

Janice E. Chin ‘83

Margaret M. Chin '84

Pamela G. Chin ’81

Hye-Won Choi '85

Andrew Chow '14

John Shanyi Chow '79

Amy Chu MBA '99

Julie Yao Cooper '85, MBA '91

Ryan W. Coughlan '06 

Sam Davol '92

Gerald V Denis '83

Andrea Anisha Desai EdM '99

Laura Dumbach '84

Thyra Endicott '84

Lia Epperson '93

Guy Lyndon Fish, MD MBA '81

Tamara Fish '88

Ari Fitzgerald '84

Pilar Fitzgerald '15

Luis García '84

Elizabeth C. Garvey '83

Varsha Ghosh EdM '99

Beverley Gordon '88

Wendy Hanamura '83

Jeff Hobernan JD '92

Florence Houn '80

Jean-Pierre Ronny Jacquet '05

Kevin Jennings '85 (25th Reunion Chief Marshal)

Heather Johnston '86

Rosalyn E. Jones, '83, Knox Fellow '84, JD '87

Leila Joseffer EdM '99, EdM '00

Miliann Kang '87/'88

Seng-Dao Yang Keo '01, EdM '07, EdLD '16

Peter Kiang '80, EdM '86, EdD '91

Jinhee Ahn Kim '85

Barbara Koh '81

Dorinne Kondo PhD '82, Asst. Prof '82-'89

Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett '86, MD '91

Sophia Lai AB '04, JD '09

Athena Lao '12

Lenora Lapidus JD '90

Mary M. Lee '79

Roberto Lewis-Fernandez '79, Div '82, HMS Lecturer

Shengxi Li '15

Beatrice Liu '81, MBA '87

Theresa Loong '94

Mynette Louie '97

Vivian Louie '88

Philip H. Lovett ’83, MBA ’87 

Robert Lynn '88

Emily Mandelstam '81

Patrick Markee '87

Helen Marrow, MA PhD '07

Roberto Martinez '84

Sarah McKee A.M. '61

Mary McKenna '83

Nina Mercer '89

Junko Nagao EdM '05

Patricia M Nolan '80

Mark O'Friel '83

Christopher R. Owens '81

Jeannie Park '83

Elizabeth Pauley M.Ed '99

Donald D. Penner, MPA '82

Kristin R. Penner '89

Gil Pimentel '84

Perry Pong '83

Mukesh Prasad '93    

Elizabeth Ratner '96

Richard J. Reddick, EdM ‘98, EdD ‘07

Nisha Atre Richardson '95

Aida Sanchez '86

George J. Sanchez '81

Brian Sands '83

Moitri Chowdhury Savard '93

Elana Sigall JD '93

Jan Steckel BA '83

Tab Timothy Stewart '88 (First Class Marshal)

Renee Tajima '80

Aaron Tanaka '04

Diana Tanaka '75, JD '79

Cher Tate  '84

Paula Tavrow ’81

Karen B. Thomson '88

Van C. Tran PhD '11

David D. Troutt JD '91

William Kenneth Vaughan '84

John C. Wang '88

Paul Wang '82

Donna Washington '81

William Wolf '83/'84

Michael Williams '81

Lisa M. Wong '79

Seiji Yamada '83

Ivy Yan '15

Rashid Yasin '12

Arlene Yu '85

Election FAQs 



Why is this year's Overseer election unusual?

As in most years, the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) has nominated eight alumni for the Board of Overseers. But this year a slate of five others, who are not all alumni, petitioned to be added to the ballot. They are running together under the slogan "Free Harvard/Fair Harvard" (FHFH).  Thus, there are a total of 13 candidates running to fill five slots on the Board of Overseers. The five candidates who get the highest vote totals will be elected.


Who is the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard?

We are a group of Harvard and Radcliffe alumni who came together out of concern about the FHFH slate and their anti-diversity activism. There are now about 650 alumni  who support this effort. 


Why did you decide to endorse only five Overseer candidates?

We believe all the HAA-nominated candidates are well qualified to serve. But since there are only five open slots, the HAA slate faces a numerical disadvantage in that there are eight HAA candidates splitting the vote, as opposed to five FHFH candidates. The best way to defeat the FHFH slate is to concentrate alumni votes on five Overseer candidates. We understand some alumni may have their own favorite candidates. If you do vote for another candidate, please use all your remaining votes on Coalition-endorsed candidates.


Why do I need to use all five of my Overseer votes?

Alumni often vote for only one or two candidates. But this year if you don't use all five votes against the FHFH slate, you increase the chances that FHFH candidates will win all five open slots.


How did you decide who to endorse?

The Coalition, along with other organized groups of Harvard and Radcliffe alumni, asked the 13 candidates to answer a questionnaire about their views on diversity, affirmative action and race-conscious college admissions. A Candidate Review Committee evaluated these responses, along with the official bios and statements and our own research, and chose the five we felt would best support campus diversity.


What is the Board of Overseers?

The Harvard Board of Overseers is one of the two governing boards of Harvard University. The Board, which consists of 30 members, “exerts broad influence over the University’s strategic directions” and “provides counsel to the University leadership on priorities and plans." Each year five new Overseers are elected by alumni and serve six-year terms.


How do I vote?

All Harvard degree-holders will be mailed a paper ballot by April 1, 2016. Ballots must be received back at Harvard by noon on Friday, May 20, 2016.


Alumni living abroad may choose to join together (often via a local Harvard Club) to send ballots (sealed in their individual envelopes) together in one larger express mail envelope.  Ballots not in their individual envelopes will be invalidated.  The PO Box address will not work for FedEx or other express mail services from overseas, so they should be mailed to arrive by May 19, 2016 to:


Kate Freed
Harvard Alumni Association
124 Mt. Auburn Street, 6th floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
T: 1 617 496 0765


What if I lose my ballot or it doesn't arrive?
Call Election Services Co. at 1-866-720-4357, or email by May 11, 2016 to request a replacement. Please include your name, mailing address, degree and graduation year.


For even more logistical details:

Go to the FAQs on the HAA website.





Election FAQs
Why is this election unusual?
Who is the Coalition?
Why did you endorse only 5?
Why vote for 5?
How did you decide?
What is the Board of Overseers?
How do I vote?
What if I lose my ballot?
For even more
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