Harvard Law activists push new demands to redress ‘racism’

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2015/12/04/harvard-law-activists-push-new-demands-to-redress-racism/

CAMBRIDGE Days after Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow agreed to explore demands from student activists to remove imagery from the school seal that they say is racially offensive, the same group issued fresh demands, including more financial aid for minorities, a new office of diversity and inclusion, and revamping course requirements to cover racism, white supremacy and imperialism.

The demands, posted on the Reclaim Harvard Law website were delivered on the same day activists led a school discussion about racial issues on campus:

The activists claim that the voices of “students from disadvantaged backgrounds” have “largely gone unheard” at the elite Ivy League institution.

To counter these conditions, the students insist on the creation of a Harvard Law School Diversity Committee “exactly” as they describe it. The activists say the panel of students, faculty and staff will “provide students, staff and others who have been marginalized at this law school with the ability to come to the negotiating table and engage substantively, meaningfully and sustainably with these issues.” The committee will also let the activists measure progress and “hold the administration accountable.”

The activists insist on lower tuitions and other subsidies for anyone whose “household earns less than the cost of attendance for one year” at the school, without stipulating a figure. They demand “significantly lower tuition,” larger grants and free tuition for those pursuing “a civic-minded career.” The subsidies, they say, should also include “subsidized travel and housing for job interviews.”

Next year’s all-in costs for Harvard Law students are expected to be $85,000 for the current academic year, according to the school’s website.

Their list also demands the creation of a “critical race program” at the school, including tenure-track faculty “critical race theorists,” which the students interpret as scholars committed to “uncovering the systems at play in the violent erasure of black people in our system of governance and challenging ‘elite’ institutions’ conceptions of ‘race neutrality’ in the face of functionally exclusionary practices.”

Friday’s campus meeting prompted a flurry of observations on Twitter:

The campus meeting also came weeks after the discovery of black tape strips placed across portraits of many black law professors. Minow has said campus police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, although some, including one prominent black faculty member, have wondered aloud whether the portraits were defaced by activists in order to draw attention their causes.

Contact Evan Lips at [email protected] or on Twitter at @evanmlips.