Boston Globe: Harvard Reported Warren As Minority For Years In Federal Reports

In Washington, it is often the response of politicians to allegations that get them into more trouble than the original allegations themselves. Harvard Professor and US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren appears to be reaffirming that rule as more information surfaced that casts serious questions about her veracity over the claim to being a Native American. The latest disclosure comes from the Boston Globe, a Democratic-leaning newspaper that has been criticized for downplaying the controversy in the past. I previously discussed how claiming to be a minority is a significant act for law professors due to reporting to the federal government, the ABA, and AALS. Warren has insisted that she was unaware that she was listed as a minority, but, as a law professor, I am skeptical how such listings can occur without a professor volunteering the information. Now, the Boston Globe is reporting that Harvard listed Warren for years as a minority in reports to the federal government. Obviously, this story has particular interest to law professors, but it is being played out in the Massachusetts senatorial race.

I do not share the view that anyone should be able to claim to be a minority, particularly when reporting responsibilities to the government and the ABA hold great importance for schools and academics. Warren is not a minority. She also does not meet that federal definition of a Native American.

Warren’s denial of knowledge of being viewed as a minority and a Cherokee has faced repeatedly contradiction including the recent disclosure by the New York Times of being claimed as a minority faculty member at her earlier law school, the University of Pennsylvania. There have also been smaller disclosures like her contributions to the “Pow Wow Cook Book” as a Cherokee woman.

The Globe reports on Warren’s pasts denial but reveals “for at least six straight years during Warren’s tenure, Harvard University reported in federally mandated diversity statistics that it had a Native American woman in its senior ranks at the law school.” The school notes, as we previously discussed, such statistics are based on the reporting of the professors themselves as minorities. The newspaper states the new information “further questions about Warren’s statements that she was unaware Harvard was promoting her as Native American.”

Warren is refusing to respond to the new information and her campaign insists that she has already answered enough questions.

Alan Ray, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, was the official responsible during this period for reporting at Harvard. He is now president of Elmhurst College in Illinois and says that he did not list Warren unilaterally and never encouraged an professor to report themselves as a minority.

Warren was repeatedly identified as a minority Native American in various publications for the Harvard Crimson. As previously discussed, she was called Harvard Law’s “first woman of color” in a 1997 Fordham Law Review and in 1998, Harvard published a letter to the New York Times heralding the presence of a “Native American” on the faculty. Then again in 1998, the Crimson followed up on the New York Times publication and wrote “Harvard Law School currently has only one tenured minority woman, Gottlieb Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren, who is Native American.”

I have previously said how much I respect Warren as an academic and her intellect would be clearly be an asset in the U.S. Senate. However, I remained concerned over the denials of knowledge and the years of claims to be a minority. Whether such claims assisted her career or not, the reporting of minority hiring affects myriad of different issues and rankings. To count a minority member on a faculty, reduces pressure on the school to further diversify its ranks and elevates the status of the professor. Under any reasonable definition, Warren is not a minority and there is no documentation establishing that she is even 1/32 Cherokee. Even if she were 1/32 Cherokee, would we feel it was fine for someone to claim they are black or hispanic with 1/32 connection to that minority or asian? If so, law schools could claim a multifold increase in minorities. Clearly, we cannot have reporting data if anyone is given carte blanche in self-proclaiming themselves to be minorities.

While I do not question her pride in the family claim to have Indian blood (though tens of millions have such potential claims of a small presence of Indian blood in their families), there is a big difference between such pride and claiming to be a minority or Native American. I tend not to view these stories in partisan terms. Frankly, I am a critic of both parties. I believe that story does raise legitimate questions, particularly regarding the denials of knowledge. While I do not believe that this is the most important question in the campaign, I do believe it warrants further answers from Warren.

What do you think? Do you believe Warren should respond to these latest allegations in the Boston Globe and New York Times or is this completely irrelevant to judging Warren’s character and veracity?

Source: Boston Globe

160 thoughts on “Boston Globe: Harvard Reported Warren As Minority For Years In Federal Reports

  1. Jeez, I must look closer into the “indian princess” in my blood line. She is english/scottish but married an indian prince. Looked lovely in her costume photo.
    Could I get a good job with that? Doubt it. Wouldn’t have it either.

    But the people in Mass. expressing opinions on her “indian heritage”. What a laugh. Tell us the one about “one if by land, and two if by sea” again. And the Puritans is also a nice tale.

    What is farce American politics are.

    But it is nice we take time to discuss the sickness around us. Maybe fewer will catch it.

    And now a little haiku:

    Who’s sorry now?
    Democrats? Republicans?
    Choice-Boice! It is us!

  2. Elizabeth Warren unscathed by Scott Brown’s smear attempt
    5/24/12
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/24/1094454/-Poll-Elizabeth-Warren-unscathed-by-attacks-on-heritage-

    Excerpt:
    The attacks on Elizabeth Warren for her claims of Native American heritage by Sen. Scott Brown, bolstered by the sickeningly racist Boston Herald, haven’t worked with the voters. According to a new Suffolk University poll of likely Massachusetts voters, she trails Brown by just one point, 48-47. That’s a major shift from Suffolk’s last poll, in Warren’s favor. In February, they had Brown up by nine points, 49-40.

    Brown was attempting to sow doubt in voters’ minds about Warren’s honesty. That didn’t work.

    A plurality of those polled—49 percent—believe Warren is telling the truth about being part Native American. Just 28 percent said she was not being honest while 23 percent weren’t sure.

    The attacks were also intended to paint Warren as unqualified, as having relied on her heritage claims for educational or career advancement. That didn’t work.

    A plurality of 45 percent also believe she did not benefit by listing herself as a minority at Harvard or the University of Pennsylvania, where she also taught.

  3. Matt, If you are talking about Thomas not asking questions during oral arguments, I believe he just uses the written submissions and considers the oral arguments superfluous. But I really don’t know

  4. Matt,

    huh? Guess I misunderstood why you mentioned Thomas. I was talking about him in front of the judiciary committee where he was supposed to be providing honest answers. He lied and the committee knew it. What are you talking about?

  5. bettykath,

    I don’t blame Clarence Thomas for not asking questions when he doesn’t have anything to argue about.

  6. Matt, re: Clarence Thomas. An ethical failure of the committee. They had the answers and, as I said, framed the questions to get the answers they wanted. With follow ups that obfuscated the truth. [grammar police]

  7. bettykath 1, May 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Matt Johnson 1, May 26, 2012 at 11:35 am

    bettykath,

    Are you going to answer the questions? If she already knew the answers, why did she need to ask? So she wouldn’t have to be responsible for the answers?
    ———————————
    Am I going to answer what questions?

    I believe your next questions relate to my comments about the video where Edwards was questioning Geitner.

    When lawyers are questioning a witness do you think it important for them to already know the answer? Surely this would make framing the question easier to get at the testimony they’re looking for, to frame additional questions if the witness is obfuscating, and so on. Elizabeth was questioning Geitner in the same way. She was after his testimony, his answers to questions where he should have had the answers. She did her homework.

    =======================
    BB, yes, I meant Edwards, not Brown.
    ===========================================================
    Ask Clarence Thomas.

  8. Alright, I am quite ready to address Warren vs Iran and Israel.

    I think the both are non-issues.

    Why?
    Because all senators are already whipped by the Israel lobby. And most are already on the Iran bandwagon. The MIC has assured that. They have spread their graces strategically all over the states. Thus pressure can be applied wherever and whenever required to get the votes they want.
    Anyone who believes a single senator can buck the flow on these fronts is unimformed—to say the least.

    Where does her opponent stand recordwise? Give us that who complain. But my points still stand whatever he claims.

  9. It’s not hard to get them mixed up. Elizabeth Edwards was a very fine person.

  10. Bettykath, I realize you didn’t mean Brown, I was wondering if you meant Warren and not Edwards. No matter. I’m pretty sure I know who you mean.

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