The Harvard community is expressing its disappointment that another white male has been selected to serve as university president.
Students and faculty at Harvard University are upset that Lawrence S. Bacow, a qualified attorney, author, and economist, was selected to serve as university president. They are objecting on the basis that he is a white male.
Writing for the Crimson, Student Diego Navarrete argued that Bacow won’t be able to represent an increasingly diverse student body at the Ivy League institution. “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,” he wrote.
Another student, Sebastian A. Reyes, says the school now lags behind other universities that have already made the move to hire a minority as university president.
“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 said in a comment. “I think it puts Harvard behind a lot of other universities which have already selected people of color as their presidents.”
Nicholas P. Whittaker, the chair of the Multicultural Center Coalition at Harvard, said that the university should have opted for a candidate who has dedicated his or her life to representing marginalized communities.
“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 said in a comment.
“He must listen when students explain that race and gender alter the kind of Harvard experience they have,” Harvard student Ruben Reyes Jr. wrote in a column. “And, more than that, he must prepare Harvard and its students for a future that is increasingly dependent on the expertise of women and people of color.”
Harvard doctoral student Nadirah Farah Foley wrote in a tweet that she “can’t stop laughing at the fact that this isn’t even Harvard’s first president who’s a white male economist named Larry.”
Bacow will step into his new role as Harvard University president this summer.