Ron Unz, Silicon Valley’s libertarian billionaire businessman, wants to abolish tuition at Harvard, and so he’s created a five-member slate of non-partisan reform candidates for Harvard’s upcoming governance elections.
Although politically diverse, the five are trying to divert a small portion of Harvard’s $38 billion in hedge-fund wealth to eliminate tuition fees. That would have a disproportionate benefit for smart people from not-wealthy families. Unz’s slate also wants to impose some transparency on the university’s internal deliberations, including its hard-to-explain, apparent cap on the number of accepted Asian students.
But first, they’ve got an election to win;
Harvard is the world’s wealthiest and most prestigious university, and if it were suddenly to abolish tuition under the pressure of a referendum vote of its 320,000 alumni, the resulting earthquake in the global academic community would have aftershocks far and wide. Indeed, some of Harvard’s most eminent scholars have already dropped me supportive notes, questioning the absurd rise of tuition at their own institution and at other universities over the past few decades, and very much hoping that our campaign might succeed in reversing this trend…
Will our campaign succeed? Maybe, maybe not. Based on all indications so far, I have little doubt that if our names do appear on the annual Overseer ballot and our position statements are mailed out to the 320,000 Harvard alumni, we will win a resounding victory throughout the Harvard community, and soon thereafter Mighty Harvard will agree to forego 4% of its annual investment income and henceforth become tuition-free, while also starting to shift its admissions process from abusive total opacity to some degree of reasonable transparency. But the more difficult question is whether we will even be able to reach that ballot.
We now have little more than ten remaining days to obtain the valid signatures of 201 Harvard alumni, holders of either undergraduate or graduate degrees, and although those numbers are small, our time is very short. Furthermore, the traditions of such an august institution, set forth in the antique English of its mid-17th Century charter, require that all such signatures be provided in physical form and only written upon the elegant petitions printed by the University itself.
Thus, anyone holding a Harvard degree who is interested in signing our petitions and perhaps changing the world should email us at petitions@FreeHarvard.org, and include your mailing address to obtain a petition for signing. If you can commit to quickly gathering an additional signature or two and also include your phone number, we will fedex you a petition. The more Harvard alumni signatures all of you can quickly gather, the more likely Harvard will soon become both free and fair.
Read the complete article here.
In 1998, Unz used California’s ballot-process to end the crippling policy of confining Spanish-speaking immigrant kids to Spanish-speaking classrooms. Latinos strongly backed the successful measure, which helped nudge up education scores state-wide in poor communities.