Harvard Must Set the Record Straight on Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren is beginning to solidify herself as a top-tier candidate in the Democrat primary. She has been forced to backtrack on her decades-long claims of being a woman of color, but Harvard still has not done the same. Why has Harvard not set the record straight?
In 1993, Harvard Law School offered Warren a highly coveted tenured professor job. The record is clear as to how she obtained the offer -- Harvard had been the subject of a discrimination lawsuit at the time regarding its hiring practices, and the school was openly trying to hire women and people of color at its law school.
Warren did not begin her job until 1995 due to “family reasons,” but shortly after she started, Harvard Law School News Director Mike Chmura began touting her as the first woman of color to be given tenure at the institution. Here are just some of the references to her minority status:
1996: Spokesperson Chmura identifies Warren as a native American professor in the Harvard Crimson.
1997: In the Fordham Law Review, Chmura touts Warren as Harvard Law’s “first woman of color.”
1998: Chmura, in a letter to the New York Times, stated that the law school had appointed “eight women, including a Native American.” Three days later, the Crimson reiterated that “Harvard Law School has only one tenured minority woman, Gottlieb Professor Elizabeth Warren, who is Native American.”
1999: Harvard begins publishing its affirmative action plan on its website and lists a single Native American professor.
Public reports continued to list a single native American professor at the school intermittingly until 2011. The U.S. Department of Labor requires large employers like Harvard to collect diversity statistics annually. Based on public reporting, it is likely that Harvard reported Warren as a minority to the U.S. government during her time.
Looking at a timeline history from the law school’s own website, it lists many minority achievements, such as the first female president of the Harvard Law Review, the first black president of the Harvard Law Review (Barack Obama), and the first woman dean (Elena Kagan). But the school is noticeably silent on something it so publicly touted for decades – the first tenured female minority law school professor.
However, as of today, Lani Guinier claims on her Harvard law bio that she is the first tenured woman of color. There has been no public statement from Harvard recanting its false report that has lasted for over 20 years.
Did Harvard Law avoid legal actions and potential damages payable to minorities by falsely reporting to the U.S. Department of Labor that it had hired a tenured woman of color? Did other people of color lose an opportunity for advancement because Warren was classified as a native American woman? These questions have not been asked or answered. It is time to hear from Harvard on who truly was the first tenured woman of color at the law school.