Harvard University has chosen its 29th president in accredited attorney Lawrence S. Bacow. He is more than qualified with three degrees from Harvard; served as president of Tufts University for 10 years; was chancellor and department chair at MIT for 24 years; and he’s an author and economist. There’s just one problem: he’s a white male.
According to The Washington Examiner, some students aren’t happy that Bacow will be the law school’s “28th white male president.” From their report:
“A thought that I had earlier was that, in a few years, if the diversity of the incoming class keeps increasing, [a] white president will no longer be representative of the Harvard student body, which is a big issue,” Harvard student Diego Navarrete told the campus newspaper, The Harvard Crimson.
Another student, Sebastian A. Reyes, blatantly laments seeing Bacow become president — not because he feels Bacow’s academic background isn’t on par with that of an Ivy League president, but because Bacow is not a racial minority.
“I think the one sort of thing I had in mind for the new president was that it would be a person of color, so it was really disheartening that that occurred,” Reyes told the Crimson. “I think it puts Harvard behind a lot of other universities which have already selected people of color as their presidents.”
Nicholas P. Whittaker, a student who chairs the Multicultural Center Coalition, agrees.
“It would've been really encouraging for the University to choose someone who had a proven track record of consistently showing up for marginalized communities, not in just in words but in actions,” Whittaker told the Crimson.
Bacow’s parents hailed from Eastern Europe and both escaped Nazi persecution as Jews and found refuge in the United States. (His mother was the only member of her family to survive Auschwitz.) But that’s not the kind of ethnic diversity these social justice warriors are looking for.
Ruben E. Reyes Jr. noted in his piece for The Harvard Crimson, titled, “66-Year-Old Married White Male With a Doctorate,” that not only is Bacow just another white male Harvard president, he’s also the second one named Lawrence — egads:
It’s impossible to ignore that Lawrence S. Bacow is the second white, male economist named Lawrence to serve as Harvard’s president. And for a student of color who has constantly struggled to see himself represented at the University, the choice is uninspiring and frankly a bit disappointing.
“Harvard’s next president does not look like me,” Reyes added. “He does not look like the majority of the freshman class or classes to come. He does not understand, first-hand, what it means to be reduced to your gender or the color of your skin,” says the student reducing Bacow to the color of his skin.
These undergrads would prefer skin color or gender over qualifications in their president because as they see it, the future of Harvard depends “on the expertise of women and people of color.”