Cathedral Round-Up #9 (and One year blog-a-versary): Vote Early and Vote Often

Hey, everybody, EvolutionistX is now one year old. *Clinks glasses* Here’s to another year!

While you celebrate, please nominate your favorite posts for inclusion in the “favorite posts” section, or suggest a topic for future posts!

Carrying on with our monthly Cathedral Roundup:

Even a critic as skeptical as Edward Said succumbs to the temptation of university, academic employment: the university’s self-legitimations stand unchallenged. … This synthesis of internal and external factors is such that university-based intellectuals are guaranteed autonomy (“specific context”) in the name of the intellectual reduced to a social agent who agrees with Enlightenment–“investigation” becomes social improvement (“promoting human community.” –Sande Cohen, Academia and the Luster of Capital

I have obtained a copy of the Harvard U. Board of Overseers 2016 election pamphlet. In case you haven’t been following Ivy League politics, Ron Unz of Unz Review fame and some other folks have gotten themselves onto the ballot via petition. Somewhat amusingly, theirs is the “free stuff and ethnic animosity” campaign, banking on Asians being pissed that Harvard (and other schools) discriminates against them for doing too well on the SAT. This position is controversial because not-discriminating against Asians might mean taking fewer blacks and Hispanics who are currently being accepted on “soft” criteria rather than top SAT scores.

You have until May 20 to get your vote in (if you’re a Harvard alum and believe in voting,) so let’s see who’s running.

Eight of the candidates have been proposed by the Harvard Alumni Association Nominating Committee. Five candidates were nominated by petition, and are so identified. … The order of the candidates in each category is determined by lot.

The slate of candidates nominated by the Harvard Alumni Association is half male and half female; ethnically it is 3/4s white, with one black and one Asian candidate (based on black and white headshots). The nominated by petition slate is all male, 2/5s Asian and 3/5s white. (I’m not totally sure about Unz’s ethnicity, but I’m guessing white.)

We’ll start with the Alumni Association nominees.

Kent Walker:

… believes that the breadth of Harvard’s academic excellence uniquely positions it to have an influence far beyond its gates. … “I hope the University will continue its great tradition of integrating discoveries in science and technology, advances in the social sciences, and insights from the humanities to inspire change around the world.” … He has a special interest in global humanitarian and refugee programs. He is active with the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children, and he advises the Mercy Corps Social Venture Fund.”

Ketanji Jackson:

… is a federal judge who serves on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She was nominated for this lifetime position by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2013. As a judge, she has a particular interest in criminal justice and sentencing policy, having served a a vice chair and commissioner of the U.S. Sentencing Commission and as an assistant federal public defender in D.C.

Helena Foulkes:

“I would be honored to contribute whatever I can to Harvard’s immensely important role in improving the health and well-being of people around the world. And I’d value the chance to help encourage students, whatever their career paths, to focus on not just doing well but doing good.”

One of the side effects of spending much of your spare time trying to refine your writing abilities is that you become hyper-sensitive to minor glitches in other peoples’ writing that normal folks probably don’t even notice–like the 11 unnecessary words in Mrs. Foulkes’s two sentences.

John Moon:

…whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Korea, experienced firsthand the benefits of education, and he views educational access as a key to opportunity for others.

(As opposed to everyone else in the country, who didn’t get educations?)

“I would like to help ensure that Harvard remain a world-class educational and research institution that continues to lead globally. Equally important, Harvard should not only remain open to but actively seek out a diverse student body at the College and its graduate schools.”

Harvard is… already doing this. But I like to imagine he’s a stealth Free Harvard, Fair Harvard candidate.

Alejandro Magana:

“I hope to bring a continued international approach to the Board of Overseers, building on Havard’s status as a genuinely international institution, mindful that we continue to attract the most promising students and scholars from around the world and that we continue to encourage truly responsible global citizens.”

Damian Woetzel:

… former principal dancer with NYC Ballet, has combined his creative passion with his master’s in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School to become a leader, public advocate, and activist for the arts.

“The arts are an essential element in education at every level. At a time when universities face pressures to focus on specialized job skill, Harvard is committed to the full range of liberal arts education. As an Overseer, I would relish the opportunity to draw on my national work engaging the arts in society, to focus on Harvard as a leader and model for the value of arts in the university environment.”

He is the artistic director of the Vail International Dance Festival.

Karen Green:

“My experiences at Harvard literally transformed me.”

I hope she became a butterfly.

“Learning experiences inside and outside the classroom caused me to adopt a much larger worldview and fostered in me a love–not only for lifelong learning, but also for Harvard.”


At least her goals are unobjectionable:

“I wold like to work to ensure that Harvard continues to attract the very best students, regardless of their economic circumstances, and remain accessible and affordable to students of modest means.”

P. Lansdale:

… has dedicated her social science career to enhancing the lives of children through teaching and mentoring, research, and translating research into policy and practice. Much of her work addresses family strengths that lead to children’s positive social and educational outcomes in the context of economic hardship. …

“I believe strongly in addressing equity and inclusion, and in building diverse communities that thrive while simultaneously exploring new knowledge and debating various perspectives.”

“simultaneously exploring new knowledge and debating various perspectives.”

Wow. For writing a sentence that terrible, she gets to be my least favorite.

On to the Free Harvard/Fair Harvard petition slate!

First we have Ralph Nader, who was a surprise to me:

“Even with restrictions on portions of its $38 billion endowment, Harvard is easily capable of ending net tuition at the undergraduate level and setting an example for other well-endowed Universities.” …

As an advocate, author and organizer, he has been responsible for starting many enduring civic groups, including Public Citizen, Center for Study of Responsive Law, Center for Auto Safety and the student public interest groups in many states.

He has been instrumental in the passage of numerous health, safety, water pollution, air pollution and product safety laws and agencies, along with the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 and the historic Freedom of Information act of 1974.

(So how did Nader get involved in all of this?)

Stephen Hsu:

His research areas include quantum field theory, cosmology, and computational genomics. … “As a scientist, university administrator, and technology entrepreneur, I believe I have unique insight into the challenges facing modern research universities.”

Ron Unz:

“Its 38 BILLION endowment has transformed Harvard into one of the world’s largest hedge funds, with tax-exempt annual income twenty-five times greater than net college tuition revenue. Forcing families to pay tuition to a giant hedge fund is unconscionable.”

Unz is trying to play the moral highground card, but does it work? Sure, it seems wrong for Harvard to charge tuition from students who are much poorer than it is, but on the other hand, Harvard is a private institution, not a charity, and can do what it wants. Harvard’s house, Harvard’s rules.

Stuart Taylor:

“My recent work has explored the unnecessary secrecy and unfairness of the higher education admissions process, as well as the decline of of ideological diversity on faculties.” …

Taylor has coauthored two books… Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Fraud. [and] … Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It.

Lee Cheng:

“…I support affirmative action, but oppose discrimination. I believe that the University can only become truly diverse, and truly inclusive, by becoming completely transparent about admissions criteria and practices. More transparency has always improved and increased access for the underprivileged.”

… He is known for wiping out “patent trolls.” …

He is married and has 3 children… who will all be identified as ethnically Asian when they apply to college.

The pamphlet also gives us a breakdown of the occupations of the current Board of Overseers: 1 writer (NY Times); 1 lawyer; 4 government (mostly judges); 7 educators (mostly professors); 10 in business and finance; and 7 in non-profits that look a lot like the B&F positions.

Ethnic breakdown of current set based on b&w pictures: 20 white, 10 non-white–4 black, 1 Hispanic?, 3 east Asian, and 2 Indian. 14 men, 16 women.

To be honest, I don’t know how much power the Board of Overseers has to do anything, but the petition is an interesting attempt at a power grab, especially as it rides on the complaint, felt by at least some Asians, that one ethnic minority is being mistreated in order to favor other ethnic minorities.

I think the Republicans had been hoping (before Trump entered the primary race) to capture the Hispanic vote (which is why two of their primary candidates were Hispanics and a third is prominently married to a Hispanic,) in much the same way that the Democrats have captured the black vote. The problem with this strategy, obviously, is that not only is the Republican establishment having a really hard time out-competing the Democrats on “being welcome to Mexican immigrants,” but the rest of the Republican voters want nothing to do with such an agenda.

This leaves me to wonder if there is yet an opportunity for Republicans to ally with Asians (and Indians) who could be convinced that the Democrats are favoring blacks and Hispanics at their expense. Or will that, too, fall flat?

11 thoughts on “Cathedral Round-Up #9 (and One year blog-a-versary): Vote Early and Vote Often

  1. If you’re opening the floor to suggestions, I saw this video a while back, and I was wondering what you thought about the discussion. It seems like something that would be right up your alley:


  2. If you’re taking suggestions, have you read about aphantasia? I don’t have it myself (almost the exact opposite), but one of my parents is a classic case, and I only just learned it had a name.


  3. Here is a list of your articles that have made the TWiR Awards. I’d suggest these as a potential starting slate for Evolutionist X Hall of Fame Voting. (with part 2: and part 3: (with parts 2: and 3: (with parts 2: and 3: (with parts 2: and 3: (also a part two:


  4. Hello, and greetings from the god-forsaken lands of Honduras. I don’t have anything in particular to comment about the election thing, I just wanted to congratulate you on this blog’s anniversary and thank you for your lovely work: truly a light in so much darkness.


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