On day 14 of the Harvard Asian discrimination trial, former Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust took the witness stand.
Former Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust took the witness stand on Thursday as the three-week trial headed towards its final day on Friday. Faust was questioned for an hour by Harvard lawyer William F. Lee. Then, Students for Fair Admissions attorney John M. Hughes questioned Faust about Harvard historical discrimination against Jewish applicants.
“It was not a proud chapter in Harvard’s history,” Faust said, referring to the school’s anti-semitic discrimination.
Faust used her time on the witness stand to argue that she increased access for students from “vulnerable” backgrounds to Harvard during her time as president. “I feel that my tenure has been committed in considerable part to expanding openness, access to Harvard,” Faust said on the stand. “There is no place for discrimination of any kind at Harvard.”
“There are a wide range of types of diversity that matter to us,” Faust added. “Racial diversity is important because race is an element of importance in our society.”
Faust pointed to several programs she started during her 11 years at Harvard, particularly her expansion of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative. Her expansion of the program provides financial aid to approximately 60 percent of the students enrolled at Harvard College. For 20 percent of the students at the college, it covers their full cost of attendance.
Faust also established a university-wide task force on inclusion and belonging. It doesn’t seem like Faust’s emphasis on these forms of diversity program would be inconsistent with the admission’s office attitudes about stereotyping Asian applicants. “Diversity” programming in academia is consistently associated with a desire to achieve a form of racial balancing. This means that university officials will use their power to take power away from members of successful groups, such as Asian-Americans, and give it to members of less fortunate groups.