by Dr. Boyce Watkins – Scholarship in Action
It was recently announced that Harvard University has admitted a record number of African American students this year. The UK Guardian has revealed that 11.8% of Harvard’s incoming freshmen are African American. This is quite an achievement for nearly any university, especially one that exists among the elite. Harvard’s latest president, Drew Gilpin Faust, should be congratulated on her accomplishment.
While we are tempted to jump up and down in excitement over the school’s decision to accept the fact that blacks are just as bright as whites, we might need to take a moment of pause. Even though the presence of black students is very important to a campus, the reality is that admitting students of color neither requires significant courage nor shows any real sign of meaningful progress when it comes to truly shaping the direction of a university. The holy grail of power in any academic environment is the number of tenured faculty positions, which Harvard continues to keep African Americans from obtaining.