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Pictures of Black Professors Defaced at Harvard Law School
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Summary: The portraits of black professors were defaced at Harvard Law School.

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On Thursday, Harvard Law students saw that vandals had defaced the portraits of black professors with tape. Photo courtesy of Blavity.

Yesterday morning, students and faculty entered the hallowed halls of Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Hall, and they were shocked to see a hate crime. All of the portraits of black professors had been defaced with black tape while the white professors’ portraits on the wall were not touched. This is the latest occurrence of harassment towards students of color, but the tension has been building for quite some time.

  
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“For a lot of students, particularly students of color, it’s not surprising. It’s just more public,” Harvard Law student Derecka M. Purnell told The Crimson Review. “It’s a public manifestation of what we experience in the classroom every day.”

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The portraits of black professors were covered with tape at Harvard Law School. Photo courtesy of The Crimson Review.

Before this incident, Harvard Law School was already embroiled in racial tension. A group of law students calling themselves Royall Must Fall were campaigning for the removal of the school crest, which is derived from the Royall family, slave owners who endowed the school with its first professorship. Members of the group placed black gaffer tape over the seal in Wasserstein on Wednesday in protest, and someone had taken that tape and used it to cover the black faculty pictures.

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If the vandals were hoping to get back at Royall Must Fall, then they failed, because they only highlighted the lack of diversity at the school. The wall featured mostly white men, and as of 2014-2015, the law school had only 9 black tenured professors out of 91. Less than a quarter of those tenured professors were women.

Harvard Law School dean, Martha Minow said that racism was a “serious problem” at the school, and many students interviewed by The Crimson Review agreed. However, one professor, Alan Dershowitz, was outspoken that diversity was not a real problem. He said it was the “tyrannical students” who were out of control with hypocritical demands.



“The last thing these students want is diversity,” Dershowitz said to Business Insider. “They may want superficial diversity, because for them diversity is a code word for ‘more of us.’ They don’t want more conservatives, they don’t want more white students, they don’t want more heterosexuals.”

Dershowitz, a tenured professor who is white, heterosexual, and male, seems to echo the sentiment of Mizzou’s Tim Wolfe to blame the people crying racism instead of working to fix the problems they’re talking about. Wolfe recently resigned from his post as president of the University of Missouri after protests spurned by his lack of action when it came to harassment of African-Americans on campus. Before he resigned, he was asked by students what he thought systematic oppression was.

“Systematic oppression is when you don’t believe that you have the equal opportunity for success …” he said, which resulted in an emotional response from the students.


Because of the tape incident at Harvard Law School, police have started an investigation and students and faculty have engaged in dialogue about racism on campus. At noon on Thursday, hundreds of law professors, students, and administrators met to share how sometimes Harvard Law is an unwelcoming environment to students of color. Some students even told Dean Minow that she was not responsive enough to diversity needs.

To her credit, Minow appeared receptive to the criticism, and she later emailed a statement, promising that she would work to find “effective solutions.”

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/harvard-law-faculty-black-tape/416877/

Source: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2015/11/20/law-school-vandalism-portraits/

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/alan-dershowitz-thinks-student-protesters-dont-want-true-diversity-in-colleges-2015-11 

Source: http://blavity.com/this-morning-at-harvard-law-school-we-woke-up-to-a-hate-crime/ 



 

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