Free Harvard, Fair Harvard: Overseer election results

Written by: Stephen Hsu

Primary Source: Information Processing

None of the Free Harvard, Fair Harvard candidates were among the winners of the Harvard Overseer election, which ended last Friday. I didn’t expect to win, but I thought Ralph Nader had a good chance. Nevertheless, it was worthwhile to bring more attention to important issues such as admissions transparency and use of the endowment. My thanks to the thousands of Harvard alumni who supported our efforts and voted for the FHFH ticket.

NYTimes: Group Urging Free Tuition at Harvard Fails to Win Seats on Board

A rebellious slate of candidates who this year upset the normally placid balloting for the Board of Overseers at Harvard has failed to secure positions on the board, which helps set strategy for the university.

Calling itself Free Harvard, Fair Harvard, the group ran on a proposal that Harvard should be free to all undergraduates because the university earns so much money from its $37.6 billion endowment. It tied the notion to another, equally provocative question: Does Harvard shortchange Asian-Americans in admissions?

The outsider slate, which was formed in January, proposed five candidates against a slate of eight candidates officially nominated by the Harvard Alumni Association. After 35,870 alumni votes were counted, five winners were announced from the alumni group on Monday. …

Perhaps our efforts emboldened other groups to push for important changes:

WSJ: Asian-American Groups Seek Investigation Into Ivy League Admissions

A coalition of Asian-American organizations asked the Department of Education on Monday to investigate Brown University, Dartmouth College and Yale University, alleging they discriminate against Asian-American students during the admissions process.

While the population of college age Asian-Americans has doubled in 20 years and the number of highly qualified Asian-American students “has increased dramatically,” the percentage accepted at most Ivy League colleges has flatlined, according to the complaint. It alleges this is because of “racial quotas and caps, maintained by racially differentiated standards for admissions that severely burden Asian-American applicants.” …

See also

NYTimes: Professors Are Prejudiced, Too

… To find out, we conducted an experiment. A few years ago, we sent emails to more than 6,500 randomly selected professors from 259 American universities. Each email was from a (fictional) prospective out-of-town student whom the professor did not know, expressing interest in the professor’s Ph.D. program and seeking guidance. These emails were identical and written in impeccable English, varying only in the name of the student sender. The messages came from students with names like Meredith Roberts, Lamar Washington, Juanita Martinez, Raj Singh and Chang Huang, names that earlier research participants consistently perceived as belonging to either a white, black, Hispanic, Indian or Chinese student.

… Professors were more responsive to white male students than to female, black, Hispanic, Indian or Chinese students in almost every discipline and across all types of universities. We found the most severe bias in disciplines paying higher faculty salaries and at private universities. In a perverse twist of academic fate, our own discipline of business showed the most bias, with 87 percent of white males receiving a response compared with just 62 percent of all females and minorities combined.

Surprisingly, several supposed advantages that some people believe women and minorities enjoy did not materialize in our data. For example: Were Asians favored, given the model minority stereotype they supposedly benefit from in academic contexts? No. In fact, Chinese students were the most discriminated-against group in our sample.

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Stephen Hsu
Stephen Hsu is vice president for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University. He also serves as scientific adviser to BGI (formerly Beijing Genomics Institute) and as a member of its Cognitive Genomics Lab. Hsu’s primary work has been in applications of quantum field theory, particularly to problems in quantum chromodynamics, dark energy, black holes, entropy bounds, and particle physics beyond the standard model. He has also made contributions to genomics and bioinformatics, the theory of modern finance, and in encryption and information security. Founder of two Silicon Valley companies—SafeWeb, a pioneer in SSL VPN (Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Networks) appliances, which was acquired by Symantec in 2003, and Robot Genius Inc., which developed anti-malware technologies—Hsu has given invited research seminars and colloquia at leading research universities and laboratories around the world.
Stephen Hsu

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