According to a report from the Crimson, the Harvard Asian-American discrimination trial will make an impact on donations made by alumni to the university — but whether it will a positive or negative impact depends on who you ask.
A report from Harvard’s student newspaper details the debate over how the recent admissions discrimination trial will impact university donations. Some analysts predict that the trial could lead to a decrease in donations. Others believe that the trial will lead to the opposite outcome.
Higher education expert and Harvard alumnus Thomas D. Parker defended Harvard’s practice of admitting students from wealthy families. “There’s a reason that Harvard is one of the best places in the world and that’s because it has a lot of money. And one of the reasons it has a lot of money is that it has been very very successful at private fundraising,” Parker said. “And part of that success has to do with not just admitting legacies, but admitting rich people.”
Robert Moore, an executive at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, said that the trial exposed some of Harvard’s secrets. “If you think about alumni, alumni know the institution and they know its faults,” Moore said. “And maybe a controversy like this brings some of those faults to the fore, but they also know with greater depth the real qualities of the institution. And if they believe in the institution, then what they will want to know is how is the institution responding to this challenge.”
Harvard alumnus Paul A. Buttenwieser told the Crimson that the trial will not impact his donations to the university. “Everybody I have talked to feels that Harvard’s admissions policy is great, Dean Fitzsimmons… [has] brought about much more diversity than Harvard has ever known, all the donors I know are very much in favor of diversity and we see this lawsuit as a challenge to diversity,” Buttenwieser said.