Leaked notes from an alleged meeting between Harvard Law School (HLS) professors and student activists shows them planning how to coordinate their efforts in order to take the school in a more institutionally left-wing direction.
The notes also suggest that at least one professor at Harvard may be concealing the full extent of his liberal views in order to be appointed to positions where he can shape the university’s politics more decisively.
The notes of the meeting were obtained and published by Royall Asses Wednesday, an anonymous blog critical of recent liberal activism at HLS. Data in the document indicates that the notes were taken by Rathna Ramamurthi, a second-year HLS student. The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Ramamurthi to confirm the provenance of the documents, but she did not reply.
The meeting in question allegedly occurred Dec. 5 of last year, just a few weeks after an incident where portraits of black professors were defaced with black tape. In the notes, Kenneth Mack, Christine Desan, and Jon Hanson, all professors at HLS, provide tips to at least 12 differents activists about how they can take advantage of the political “crisis” on campus to advance liberal causes.
“You guys created a crisis and congratulations it’s a great crisis,” the notes paraphrase Desan as saying. “[The] Question is how we can use it.” Hanson similarly urged the activists not to waste the “crisis” that had been created.
Their goals, which were published as a list of student demands, aren’t simply limited to increasing awareness and support for liberal viewpoints. They also include hiring more far-left faculty members and adding classes like critical race theory to the first-year curriculum. (RELATED: Harvard May Have Investigated Conservative Students)
Desan added that it was “very important” the current crisis was focused on race, and he urged protesters to keep the focus there rather than branching out and diluting the message.
Most interestingly, the notes include evidence that Mack is presenting himself publicly as a political moderate while actually concealing very left-wing views, including support for critical race theory. Mack suggests that by hiding his real views, he was able to become chair of the school’s entry-level faculty hiring committee, where he can heavily influence the hiring process.
“If my collegauges [sic] really thought I was a crit[ical] race theorist, I wouldn’t be running the [entry-level hiring] committee,” the notes paraphrase Mack as saying.
Later, Hanson discusses his goal of injecting more overt political activism into the faculty hiring process, and suggests that he wants Mack to “out” himself as a leftist.
“Strategic use of student activism is important, and we also need activism among the faculty. I want Ken on the hiring committee, but I want him to be out,” Hanson says, according to the notes.
In the notes, the professors express a yearning for a more left-wing Harvard, and frustration with their lack of progress despite years of effort.
“We’ve been waiting forever to do this,” Hanson allegedly says. The professors blame their lack of progress on HLS’s current and former deans, whom they accuse of eroding faculty power.
Interestingly, Desan describes HLS’s faculty as a “very conservative” group, an odd claim to make when 98 percent of HLS faculty’s political donations go to Democrats. At another point, former Dean Elena Kagan (who is now an Obama Supreme Court appointee) is criticized as an “autocratic” backer “centrist/rightist” views in the faculty.
Despite the enthusiastic planning of the December meeting, five months later the success of Reclaim Harvard Law has been limited. They were successful in getting HLS to change its school seal (which derived from the coat of arms of a slaveholding family), but while Harvard has vowed to hire more diverse faculty, they have taken no concrete action to change the school’s curriculum or put a great focus on critical race theory.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Mack, Hanson, and Desan but hast not yet received a reply from any of them to confirm the validity of the documents.
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