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Harvard students make ‘diversity’ demands for its Kennedy School

The adherents to that academic religion of diversity are still at it, this time at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

According to The Harvard Crimson, student activists have issued a set of demands which include “more faculty of color” and “more attention to issues of race and racism in curriculum.” Specifically, their petition wants “at least three new tenure-track faculty of color and three new courses that discuss policy issues through the lens of race and racism.”

The petition also says the university should continue offering Professor Khalil Muhammad’s “Race, Inequality and American Democracy” course (or something similar) while the prof is on sabbatical — because many students “were inspired” by it. Petition co-creator Janice Tolbert said RIAD was “by far the most powerful and transformative course” she’d ever taken.

Tolbert told The Crimson many students wondered “why th[e] type of conversation” which took place in Muhammad’s class “was not taking place elsewhere” on campus.

A year ago, Muhammad told NPR that President Trump was a “really big part of the problem” regarding the issue of whites calling the police on black people for “insignificant reasons”: The president “ran as a law-and-order candidate in a country with a long history where the notion of using the police as the foot soldiers of controlling African-Americans,” he said.

From the story:

[Kennedy School Black Student Union president Akina] Younge said when she first came to the Kennedy School, she was struck by the lack of discourse about racial equity issues.

“I was very surprised at the lack of conversations about institutional and structural racism at a place like the Kennedy School, where people are going to be making policies for the world,” Younge said.

During her first semester at the Kennedy School last fall, Tolbert had a similar experience. She said many classes failed to thoroughly explore racial disparities.

“When we are talking about any kind of policy area – like health policy or economic policy – there should be a conversation on racial disparities, but I also think that there should also be a discussion on how those disparities came about,” Tolbert said. “I don’t really hear a lot of that taking place.”

In addition to demanding new courses that explicitly address race and racism, students are pressuring the Kennedy School to amp up recruitment efforts for faculty of color.

Younge added that inadequate racial proportions among faculty limit “true pluralistic conversation[s],” while Tolbert said “everyone can benefit from a diverse faculty.” But you’d think Ivy Leaguers might be able to figure out that it’s not a diverse faculty, and that you can’t have “true pluralistic conversations” when virtually all the instructors share the same politics.

Read the Crimson article.

MORE: Kennedy School to undertake ‘unconscious bias, micro-messaging’ training

MORE: Faculty at Harvard’s Kennedy School donate overwhelmingly to Democrats

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.