Harvard University is setting aside $100 million for an endowment fund and other measures to close the educational, social and economic gaps inherited from slavery and racism, according to an email that the president of the university sent Tuesday to all students, faculty and staff.
Harvard President Lawrence Bacow’s email included a link to a 100-page report by his university’s 14-member committee on Harvard and the legacy of slavery and acknowledged that the elite institution ” helped to perpetuate…racial oppression and exploitation”.
The panel was chaired by Tomiko Brown-Nagin, a legal historian and constitutional law expert, dean of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The email and report were shared with Reuters.
The move comes amid a wider conversation about repairing the effects of centuries of slavery, discrimination and racism. Some people have asked for financial or other reparations.
The report presents a history of slaves working on campus and the university benefiting from the slave trade and slavery-related industries after the prohibition of slavery in Massachusetts in 1783, 147 years after the founding of Harvard.
The report also documents Harvard excluding black students and its academics advocating racism.
While Harvard employed notable figures among abolitionists and in the civil rights movement, the report said, “The nation’s oldest institution of higher learning…helped perpetuate the racial oppression and exploitation of the era. .
The report’s authors recommended providing the descendants of those enslaved at Harvard with educational and other support so that they “can find their stories, tell their stories, and pursue empowering knowledge.”
Other recommendations included that the Ivy League school fund summer programs to bring students and faculty from long-underfunded historically black colleges and universities to Harvard, and to send Harvard students and faculty in institutions, known as HBCUs, such as Howard University, Washington. CC.
In his email, Bacow said a committee would explore turning the recommendations into action and that a university board had authorized $100 million for implementation, with some of the funds held in an endowment.
“Slavery and its legacy have been a part of American life for over 400 years,” Bacow wrote. “Work to further address its lingering effects will require our sustained and ambitious efforts for years to come.”
Other American higher education institutions have established funds in recent years to address the legacy of slavery.
A law enacted in Virginia last year requires five public state universities to create scholarships for descendants of people enslaved by the institutions.