Harvard's PR Machine and the Cherokees

Elizabeth Warren has been taking quite a bit of flak for recent revelations that she allowed Harvard to claim her as a “minority hire” during her time at Harvard Law School . The claim struck many as dishonest: Warren appears to be Caucasian, and not a Cherokee Indian, and one would expect that she experienced very little racial discrimination as a child growing up.

But while Warren has been suffering from political jibes, most commentators have not reflected their ire at Harvard University , the institution which had initially made the dubious claim that Warren did not rebut. On MindingTheCampus.com, I argue that the absurd, indeed trivial, claim about Warren ’s ancestry makes perfect sense when one considers the nature of Harvard University today: a highly corporatized PR machine, focused more on burnishing its brand and its image as a “diverse” and “multicultural” institution, rather than on disseminating truth. The university’s role in creating the “diversity” myth surely adds a layer of irony to Harvard’s institutional – indeed, corporate – motto: VERITAS.

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WSJ: Free Association and the First Amendment


This Monday, the Supreme Court will hear argument in an important free association case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. The case involves an evangelical Christian student group that, while accepting all students at its functions, requires leaders and voting members to sign a Statement of Faith. In today's Wall Street Journal, I explain why this is a core area of protected First Amendment expressive association, rather than, as some claim, invidious discrimination. If the Supreme Court decides that public colleges may deny religious groups the same rights as any other group on campus, the result will be less, not more, genuine campus diversity.

This is a case not widely understood by lawyers, judges, college administrators, media commentators and reporters, and many others. I hope that you will give it a careful reading and recognize why The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), whose amicus brief I signed as FIRE's counsel-of-record, has weighed-in on the side of the Christian Legal Society rather than on the side of the public law school that has, in fact, discriminated against the CLS on account of its following its religious briefs. It is a case that turns a commonly understood (or mis-understood, as the case may be) notion of "inclusion" on its head.

Read the op-ed on the Wall Street Journal website here; after the jump, view a PDF of the print edition in your browser.
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