The Supreme Court struck a symbolic blow to Harvard University this June by declaring its racial admissions preferences illegal. It remains to be seen what stratagems Harvard will use to try to continue engineering racial diversity. One thing is certain, however: the university will pay no price in reputation or in philanthropic support for the Court’s rebuke.
To understand just how confident Harvard can be in its irresistible appeal to donors, consider one of its recent windfalls. In April 2023, hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin bestowed $300 million on the university, close to the largest single donation in the institution’s history.
Griffin’s cumulative giving to the school now totals over $500 million, spread between the education, law, and business schools, as well as other entities. In exchange for this latest gift, Harvard renamed its graduate division the Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Business as usual, you may think; another billionaire plowing treasure into an institution whose values are, at best, in tension with American traditions and, at worst, antithetical to them. But Griffin is not your usual high-value donor—not a George Soros, Bill Gates, or David Geffen, say. He is a conservative.
Griffin believes that the United States still offers the American dream—opportunity, free markets, and individual freedom. He has called the U.S. Constitution a “sacred document.” (In 2021, he purchased an original copy for $43 million, to make that founding text widely available for “all Americans and visitors to view and appreciate.”) Griffin supports law enforcement. He opposes identity politics.
These views alienated him from Chicago, where, since 1990, Griffin’s hedge fund and his trading firm (the latter valued at $22 billion in 2022) had been headquartered. During the George Floyd race riots of late May 2020, Griffin crossed swords with Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker over the role of the police. Liberal opinion held that a strong response to the riots would confirm the allegation that the police were racist. Griffin rejected that argument and urged Pritzker to deploy the National Guard. Pritzker responded, according to Griffin: “ ‘It won’t look good for there to be men and women on Michigan Avenue with assault weapons.’ ” Griffin was unmoved: “If that saves the life of a child, I don’t care,” he says he told Pritzker. (Pritzker’s press office calls Griffin a “liar” because the governor did ultimately activate the National Guard.)
The Chicago school system’s antiracism mission conflicted with Griffin’s view of education. His children would come home from school “very confused about whether or not the United States was a good country,” he said in November 2022. The “indoctrination in woke ideology was crushing.” His children were not certain what they could and could not say to minority students. Griffin’s son had been reprimanded for telling an Asian student he was good at math—improper stereotyping, according to school officials. “And it’s unbelievable to see how that destroys the minds of children who are otherwise innocent and good and don’t think about these kinds of things.”
In 2022, Griffin and his firms decamped for Miami Beach, depriving Illinois of its most generous philanthropist (and richest man). “Senseless violence,” as he put it, led his reasons for doing so. A colleague had been robbed with a gun to his head while buying coffee. “When crime reaches the level that you can’t walk on your streets at night, you can’t let your kids play in the park, and you don’t feel safe even going to a restaurant without the fear of your car being carjacked, your city loses . . . its life,” Griffin explained. Illinois too readily allowed criminals back on the streets after they commit crimes, he argued. And the ideological war on cops had made officers passive. Chicago would turn around its violence problem only when “police officers who have our backs on the street . . . feel like we have their backs.” By contrast, Florida “prioritized” community safety, Griffin’s spokesman told the New York Times in April 2023, making it a magnet for new residents and businesses.
If Griffin’s views on law enforcement, identity politics, and antiracism put him at odds with Chicago, he should really be at odds with Harvard.
The university’s animating credo is that every American institution is systemically racist, including itself and, of course, the police. Combating that racism requires dividing individuals up by racial identity and preferring some groups over others.
A pronouncement from the dean of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is typical. “Racism is structurally embedded both in society at large and in our own institution,” the dean wrote in June 2020. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, like every other Harvard science department, had shut down its classes and research labs to figure out how to “eradicate systemic racism” in science, as the equity and inclusion administrative fellow for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences put it.
The Harvard admissions office sees its mission as engaging in “antiracism work.” It pursued this antiracism work via “inclusive admissions” (i.e., the racial preferences now deemed illegal). The office organizes “meaningful conversations around racism” (i.e., around any remaining vestiges of meritocratic standards of achievement).
Harvard’s libraries have compiled reading guides for investigating how America’s antiblack racism “informs institutions, policies, and daily lives,” as the central library puts it. The medical library has a particularly comprehensive antiracism syllabus for medical faculty and students, including: A Kid’s Book About Racism; Antiracist Baby, by Ibram X. Kendi; The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America; The Cycle of a Dream: A Kid’s Introduction to Structural Racism in America; and, inevitably, Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist.
But Harvard’s callousness toward its minority members is apparently intractable—thus, the relentless growth of its diversity bureaucracy, in good financial times and bad. A very partial road map of that diversity apparatus follows.
Harvard’s central administration hosts an Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. That office comprises at least 11 positions, including a chief officer for Diversity and Inclusion; an associate director for EDIB research and assessment; a director of Affirmative Action and Diversity Analytics; and a senior manager for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Community Engagement.
The Harvard Business School has at least eight specially tasked diversity bureaucrats, including a chief officer for Diversity and Inclusion; an assistant director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Special Projects; and an associate director, Diversity and Inclusion.
The Harvard College Dean of Students office has at least ten diversity positions, including a senior director, Harvard Foundation for Intercultural & Race Relations; an assistant director of finance and administration for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; an associate dean for Inclusion and Belonging; and an associate director, Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations.
The School of Dental Medicine has an assistant dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and an administrative coordinator, Office for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
The Divinity School’s four diversity bureaucrats include an associate dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, who also lectures on diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
The Graduate School of Design has a chief officer for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and an associate director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, among its various diversity staff.
The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has an assistant dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and an assistant director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has an associate dean for Equity, Diversity, Belonging, and Inclusion; a Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging coordinator; and an Equity and Inclusion fellow, among its at least six diversity slots.
Harvard’s Graduate School of Education is one of the most left-wing academic institutions in the country. Yet in September 2020, it announced the “urgent” need for a “new professional colleague” in the Office of Student Affairs to support “historically marginalized students.” That new colleague would join the ed school’s existing director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—Student Development Lead and its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion specialist. The school’s Teaching and Learning Lab team would also receive a new “professional instructional coach focused on antiracist and equitable pedagogy.”
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (now the Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) has at least 11 official diversity titles, including two associate directors of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; a dean for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and a director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
The Kennedy School has an associate dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; an assistant director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and a program manager for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
Among the medical school’s 25 dedicated diversity professionals are a dean for Diversity and Community Partnership; an assistant dean, Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership; a faculty assistant director, Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership; and a program manager in the Harvard Catalyst Program for Faculty Development and Diversity Inclusion. The medical school also draws for its diversity resources on the Consortium of Harvard Affiliated Offices of Faculty Development and Diversity Group; the medical school and the dental school’s Joint Committee on the Status of Women; and the medical school’s Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs.
The Chan School of Public Health’s four named diversity positions include a chief officer for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and a director of Strategic Projects and Diversity Education.
The law school’s seven official diversity posts include an assistant dean for Community Engagement, Equity, and Belonging; and a director and an assistant director of Community Engagement, Equity, and Belonging.
This list of diversity sinecures is an undercount. It does not include the dozens of Title IX administrators seeded throughout Harvard’s various schools, or the student services bureaucrats who may not have the totems “diversity,” “equity,” “inclusion,” or “belonging” in their job titles but who are equally dedicated to the idea that Harvard’s “marginalized” communities need special assistance.
Expect this antiracism apparatus to grow under Harvard’s new president, Claudine Gay. Gay succeeded President Lawrence Bacow in July 2023, after serving as the Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Gay has warned against thinking that the “work of racial justice” is a “one-time project.” To the contrary, she says, “we must be relentless, constructively critical, and action-oriented in our pursuit to build the thriving, more equitable [school] we all deserve.” It is only through “institutional action” that Harvard will make progress in “becoming the Harvard we aspire to be,” Gay announced. Cue up more diversity bureaucrats.
A naive observer could be forgiven for thinking that by now, Harvard would have turned itself into an “equitable” school. After all, it has been throwing resources into the fight against its own alleged racism for a very long time. In 2005, for example, Harvard created a senior vice provost for Faculty Development and Diversity, a special advisor on diversity to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and five other “special diversity deans.” Those deanlets, advisors, and VPs were already redundant additions to the existing “associate deans for affirmative action.” In 2016, Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust chartered a university-wide task force to advance Harvard “on the path from diversity to belonging.” That task force replicated previous ones. The 2016 task force’s 2018 report, “Pursuing Excellence on a Foundation of Inclusion,” repeated familiar nostrums about “coordinated efforts and deliberate attention towards the goals of yielding increased diversity, inclusion, and belonging for all members of the Harvard community.”
Griffin’s $300 million gift was inspired by Harvard’s “truth-seeking and problem-solving,” according to the press release. Yet none of Harvard’s truth-seekers and problem-solvers has had his curiosity piqued sufficiently to ask himself: How is it that, over decades of effort, myriad diversity bureaucrats have been unable to break through Harvard’s purported resistance to granting “belonging for all members of the Harvard community”? What stands in the way of such belonging? Who, and where, are the anti-belonging malfeasors? And what have the bureaucrats been doing all these years that has proven so ineffective?
If a truth-seeker investigated the matter, he would find that Harvard’s diversity bureaucrats have been busy changing their titles. In October 2021, Harvard’s chief Diversity and Inclusion officer (CDIO) proudly announced that the central diversity office was adding “equity” to its name, to yield the “Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (OEDIB).” According to the CDIO, the change reflects the “focus of University leadership.” It would have come as news to generations of DEI watchers that the university was only now focused on “equity.” As for what the office would do differently under this new focus, the CDIO was not saying.
Harvard’s administrators possess a magical view of language: words are tantamount to things. Merely adding “equity” to an indistinguishable list of social-justice goods transforms the diversity, inclusion, and belonging office into a new entity.
Other parts of the university have been adopting diversity-inspired name changes, too. Until 2016, the leaders of Harvard’s undergraduate dorms were called “master,” following an academic tradition dating to the European Middle Ages. “Master” in an academic context means an intellectual authority, consistent with the word’s Latin etymology (magister). Harvard’s undergraduates, however, always on the prowl for new grounds for wielding power through the assertion of victimhood, complained that the term “master” endangered them by putting them in mind of slave owners in the antebellum South. The two meanings of master—as intellectual authority and as lord or owner—are etymologically unrelated. Nevertheless, Harvard’s adults threw linguistic truth out the window and canceled the title.
Another student protest, this time at the medical school, canceled the name of a faculty-student group. The Holmes Society was named after Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–94), a Harvard dean, medical reformer, early proponent of the germ theory of disease, poet, and essayist (as well as father of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.). Holmes identified obstetricians’ poor hygiene as the source of a deadly postpartum infection. Attacked for impugning doctors’ sanitary practices, he wrote: “I beg to be heard in behalf of the women whose lives are at stake.”
Ironically, as medical school dean, Holmes was as susceptible to misguided student pressure as his latter-day counterparts. Holmes had broken with prevailing practice by admitting three black students to the medical school in 1850 and by considering a female applicant. This move toward equality did not sit well with the student body. The students petitioned for the black students’ removal and objected to the possibility of having a female classmate. Holmes caved and told the black students that they would have to leave after the semester ended and asked the female to withdraw her application. In 2020, Holmes’s administrative successors canceled him for not conforming to today’s racial mores. They removed his name from the faculty-student society to “demonstrate,” in the words of the inevitable student petition, that “the lives of Black students truly do matter.”
Before Kenneth Griffin buys shares in a company, he does due diligence on its operations. Has he satisfied himself that Harvard’s administrative bloat is justified and worthy of his investment? (A Griffin spokesman did not respond to a request for an interview.) A finding that Harvard’s diversity apparatus is justified would entail agreement with the proposition that Harvard contains a hidden set of barriers that make it so difficult for marginalized students to “belong” that they need an ever-larger corps of bureaucratic allies to run interference for them. Griffin’s unrestricted gift implies such agreement, since it will dissolve into the fungible pool of money that waters all corners of the Harvard edifice.
The press release announcing Griffin’s donation is likely the longest stretch of prose to come out of the school in at least a decade without the words equity, diversity, inclusion, or belonging. It must have required from Harvard’s media officers enormous self-discipline, since it reads like something from a lost world, with unqualified references to “excellence” (rather than to “inclusive excellence”), “opportunity,” “education,” and “truth-seeking.” By contrast, Harvard’s homepage invites visitors to “learn more about our commitment to inclusion and belonging,” a commitment predictably illustrated by a photo of a black student.
Griffin objected to his sons’ being told to see other human beings in terms of racial categories. He’d better not send them to Harvard. Harvard offers “affinity spaces” and “breakout rooms” for students to meet with others who “share their identities.” Those identities include: “Asian / Asian American; Black; Disability / Neurodiversity; First Gen / Low Income; International; Intersectional; Latinx; LGBTQIA+; Muslim; and Native American / Indigenous / Pacific Islander.” No such affinity spaces exist for chess players, mathematicians, oboists, astronomy fanatics, whites, or the heterosexually married. Harvard’s faculty are also divided into identity groups, such as the Association of Black Faculty, Administrators and Fellows; the Association of Harvard Asian and Asian American Faculty and Staff; the Association of Harvard Latinx Faculty and Staff; the Association of LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff; and the Committee on Concerns of Women. Professors sharing a passion for hiking, chamber music, or rare books are on their own.
Griffin’s support for the police runs as counter to Harvard’s current ethos as his opposition to balkanized identities. According to Griffin, the police no longer feel that the public has their backs. Nowhere would that suspicion on the part of law enforcement be more justified than at Griffin’s alma mater, where the idea that policing is systemically racist is now nearly as foundational as the belief that Harvard is racist.
In July 2020, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study hosted a panel on how to reform a policing system “rife with misconduct and racism,” in the words of the Harvard press office. The panel’s organizing philosophy was emblematic of received wisdom across the university. An assistant professor of African and African American studies and social studies argued that law enforcement directs “state-sanctioned violence” against the most “marginal and disadvantaged members of society.” Professor Brandon Terry, who teaches in Harvard’s general education program, scoffed at what is known in left-wing academic circles as the “politics of respectability,” meaning obeying the law and following bourgeois norms of self-control. Being law-abiding should not be the standard for evaluating moral worth and the “kind of civic standing that people should have,” Terry asserted. Given the deification of George Floyd, Michael Brown, and Daunte Wright—lawbreakers all, whose status as civil rights symbols rests solely on having been killed by the police—America seems in no danger today of practicing the “politics of respectability.”
Another panelist at the Radcliffe Institute event maintained that the problem of racist police is coterminous with the problem of racist America. Changing the police requires examining the country’s founding vision of democracy, argued the codirector of Princeton’s Center on Transnational Policing. We must ask questions such as “What has been democratic about our country after all?” This codirector may not rush out to view Griffin’s traveling copy of the U.S. Constitution.
The idea that the police subject blacks to unremitting racist violence is ubiquitous at Harvard. The director of the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice at the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership complained to the Harvard Gazette about the “hashtagging of human beings in this country at the bloody hands of police brutality.” An “Abolish the Harvard University Police” movement is active.
Harvard’s most powerful gatekeeper, the entity that determines who is in and who is out, feels qualified to weigh in on the police. “We are outraged by the countless deaths of Black people at the hands of police officers and citizens caused by a system that treats Black people as expendable,” the admissions office has announced. Would admissions officers fairly evaluate an applicant who opposed the antipolice narrative at his high school? One can hope.
The graduate student government claims that the U.S. government enables the “killing of Black people,” whether through “state-sanctioned . . . police brutality” or through “willful, ongoing and historic neglect and divestment.”
Economist Roland Fryer was virtually alone at Harvard in pushing back against the police bloodbath narrative. (Fryer is now a Manhattan Institute fellow.) In 2017, he published data from a dozen jurisdictions across the country showing that police shootings do not disproportionately kill blacks. Two years later, Claudine Gay, in her capacity as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, placed Fryer on leave and shuttered his economics lab. Several former staffers had complained that Fryer’s occasional bawdy jokes from years ago had made them feel uncomfortable. A faculty group cleared Fryer of sexual harassment charges, so Gay impaneled a second group of investigators, which finally brought forth a verdict of punishable “sexual harassment.” Fryer was banished from campus and forbidden contact with students or staff. After two years of sensitivity trainings, Fryer was allowed back onto campus. He was still barred from supervising students, and his teaching was subject to undisclosed conditions.
An economist at another university believes that Fryer was punished for betraying progressive orthodoxy regarding the police. He is not alone in this belief. The sanctions against Fryer for coarse joking were more severe than those that any other economist has received for more credible sexual harassment, according to this non-Harvard economist. Now Fryer has been virtually ostracized from the profession: “Everyone is afraid to even have him out for a seminar.”
Other dissidents have become pariahs. Harvard’s most accomplished recent president, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, was run out of office for questioning the nostrum that sexism depresses female participation in physics, engineering, and math. Asked by the organizers of an economics conference to be “provocative,” Summers posited potential alternative hypotheses for the lack of proportional sex representation in STEM, such as differing levels of interest in abstract work and a higher concentration of males at the top (and bottom) of the math skills distribution. Harvard’s faculty and students accused him of putting female professors at risk. Summers went on the usual apology tour and doled out further largesse for grievance programs. To no avail. After a faculty vote of no confidence, he resigned the presidency.
In early 2019, the faculty leader (no longer called a master) of an undergraduate dormitory faced a revolt from student dorm members. That dorm leader, law professor Ronald Sullivan, jeopardized their safety, the students said, because he represented accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. A petition demanding Sullivan’s removal as dorm leader asked whether students in his dorm would be willing to receive their diploma from someone who “believes it is O.K. to defend” a leading target of the #MeToo movement.
Rather than explaining our adversarial system of justice, Harvard College administrators initiated a “climate review” of Sullivan’s dormitory and then removed him from his dorm-oversight job. The logical inference from Harvard’s actions was that representing a client whom a self-identified victim group reviles disqualifies a professor from having a pastoral relationship to students. (The administration leaked statements alleging that Sullivan and his wife had created a “toxic environment” in Winthrop House. Harvard had ignored those previous complaints, since Sullivan and his wife are black. At the height of the #MeToo movement, however, sex privilege temporarily trumped race privilege.)
Griffin lauded Harvard’s commitment to “advancing ideas that will shape humanity’s future,” upon the announcement of his latest gift. Had he checked in with Harvard’s few remaining conservative faculty, such as government professor Harvey Mansfield, he would have learned that the marketplace of ideas at Harvard is not robust. A 2020 feature in the Gazette was typical. All the respondents to the question “Is this the end of Columbus Day, and how can America best replace it?” gave variations of the following argument for obliterating the holiday: “The day celebrates a fictionalized and sanitized version of colonialism, whitewashing generations of brutality that many Europeans brought to these shores.” If there were any argument for retaining Columbus Day, you would never know it from the Gazette’s coverage.
Harvard’s most famous professor, psychologist Steven Pinker, has launched a Council on Academic Freedom in response to what he called “disinvitation, sanctioning, harassment, public shaming, and threats of firing and boycotts for the expression of disfavored opinions” at Harvard. Pinker and his cosignatories have not been silenced, he says, but less protected colleagues and students have been.
An esteemed social scientist stopped classroom teaching last year. His field of study contained too many political landmines. “You have to be so careful,” he told me. “Everyone’s terrified that students are secretly taping you on their phones.” If he were to offend his students’ sensibilities, the “knives would come out immediately.” He has “zero confidence” that the administration would support him. “I don’t trust anyone,” he said. Such an environment resembles a totalitarian state more than a university.
This social scientist is mystified by Griffin’s gift. If left-wing philanthropist George Soros can target his giving for maximum political effect, the professor wonders, why aren’t conservatives willing and able to do the same?
Kenneth Griffin believes in equal opportunity. Harvard does not. The racial admissions preferences that Harvard so furiously defended before the Supreme Court created wildly different chances of admission based on race. A 2013 study by the university itself showed that if Harvard admitted students on a color-blind basis, based on academic qualifications, it would be 43 percent Asian, 38.4 percent white, 0.7 percent black, and 2.4 percent Hispanic. Instead, Harvard’s undergraduates in 2013 were 43.2 percent white, 18.7 percent Asian, 10.5 percent black, and 9.5 percent Hispanic. These disparities are not driven by a desire to help lower-income students. The children of well-to-do blacks enjoy a large admissions advantage over the children of lower-income blacks.
Though Harvard fought fiercely to continue privileging black students over all other racial groups, it still proclaims itself so resistant to “including” black students as to require a gargantuan bureaucracy to confer “belonging” on those students. In light of its preferential behavior, its claim of exclusionary practices is a fiction.
It would be trite to criticize Griffin’s latest gift to Harvard on populist grounds. To be sure, a $300 million donation to vocational training, say, would expand opportunity and boost social cohesion far more than another $300 million sunk into the most elite finishing ground of the elite. Even within the ambit of higher education, $300 million would be transformational for many less wealthy colleges. At Harvard, it will alter nothing about how the institution operates. The university endowment in fiscal year 2022 was nearly $51 billion; Harvard’s net assets were $61 billion; and its net investment income was around $2.3 billion. Its total operating revenues in 2022 were $5.8 billion, with students chipping in a net $1.2 billion. Harvard’s operating surplus in 2022 was $406 million.
But a donor is well within his rights to focus on society’s top institutions rather than on its more plebeian ones. Wanting to double down on presumed excellence is an understandable instinct. Griffin forfeited an opportunity, however, to nudge Harvard closer toward its motto of Veritas. Rather than conferring an unrestricted gift, he should have made Harvard an offer: get rid of your DEI apparatus, and you can have my money. That apparatus, he could have said, conflicts with your embrace of truth, since it is based on a patent fiction: that Harvard maintains barriers to “inclusion.” That apparatus further inhibits the pursuit of truth by privileging one highly ideological understanding of the U.S. over all others. Alternatively, Griffin could have scaled his gift: for every DEI office you eliminate, I will give you $1 million. Let’s start with the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging directors, deans, fellows, program coordinators, and project advisors at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. If you prefer to keep your DEI bureaucracy and forfeit my gift, you obviously don’t need my money.
(Of course, there is no escape from Harvard’s diversity obsessions. Griffin’s gift will itself be managed according to diversity principles. Harvard’s financial overseers brag about having increased the diversity of their staff and of the external financial companies they employ. Presumably, Griffin selects his own money managers based on merit, not on race and sex.)
Griffin could have worked with the administration to create courses in Western civilization, given his regard for the Constitution. If the faculty threw a tantrum, as the Yale faculty did in 1995 at the prospect of a $20 million gift to strengthen the humanities curriculum, that eruption would itself have been clarifying.
Griffin is accustomed to deal-making. He warned Chicago for years that he was prepared to decamp if it did not control crime. When it came to Harvard, he seems to have set aside his business sense and his beliefs. (In a final symbol of the ideological divide between the university and its benefactor, Harvard has now invited an architect of Chicago’s decline—former mayor Lori Lightfoot—to teach leadership at its public-health school.)
Griffin’s gift signals to his fellow businessmen, including to other conservatives, that the path to prestige still leads through the Ivy League. And it signals to universities that they will continue to pay no price for a political agenda antithetical to mainstream American values, one that proclaims racism as the fundamental American trait. As long as this reflexive giving remains the norm, the project of reforming universities from the inside out is doomed to fail. It is time to start building elsewhere.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. Mac Donald’s work at City Journal has covered a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race relations. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and The New Criterion. Mac Donald’s newest book is When Race Trumps Merit.