Prof. Randall Kennedy

Stop forcing academics to support DEI


April 5, 2024
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Law Professor Randall Kennedy has taught at Harvard University for 40 years and written hundreds of thousands of words on race politics and the legal system. He is a vocal defender of affirmative action, so why this week did he write an essay about the ‘resentment’ caused by compulsory diversity statements? He spoke to UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers about DEI, meritocracy and how good intentions so often turn into social coercion.

 

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Arthur King
Arthur King
2 months ago

DEI is a soft totalitarian racist ideology. It should have no status among civilized people.

Howard Kornstein
Howard Kornstein
2 months ago
Reply to  Arthur King

Totalitarian it certainly is, but racist it isn’t. No need to paint something already as bad as enforced DEI policy as something it is not. It’s bad enough already.

Howard Kornstein
Howard Kornstein
2 months ago

I’m American and old enough to remember the imposition of loyalty oaths in the era of McCarthy. It all seems to have returned once again but with the pledge to a different loyalty. But the failure of our democratic values is exactly the same in both.

Ralph Faris
Ralph Faris
2 months ago

It’s always helpful and confirming when someone on the inside of the Harvard beast notices the horror. So, hats off to Professor Kennedy. I’ve used many of his writings on race in my own classes, and respect his insightful work on socio-cultural issues over the years. But until DEI and affirmative action initiatives are completely removed from the project of educating students there and elsewhere, I don’t see how significant changes can occur in any of the colleges that have disgraced themselves with such programs with the authoritarian, bureaucratic drivel they have installed.
It was reassuring, however, to listen to Professor Kennedy articulate the damage that’s been done through the imposition of anything DEI–a complete and utter failure. Time to reinvent the university’s educational philosophy. Shame on Harvard and all the other colleges and universities that have abandoned their primary responsibilities.

Jean Redpath
Jean Redpath
2 months ago

Thank you Professor Kennedy for embracing complexity and your nuanced take on the issues. Simplistic soundbite views (such as DEI good/bad) is part of the misinformation era and present across political viewpoints. It appears no longer to be possible to hold nuanced views and one is immediately labelled as being for/against whatever it is.

Judy MacDonald
Judy MacDonald
2 months ago

While Kennedy made some valid points, to me he came across as a blowhard in love with the sound of his own voice. Freddy was admirably restrained and polite in the face of some of Kennedy’s patronising answers to questions and his refusal to acknowledge certain issues, such as Claudine Gay’s deplorable plagiarism. As he defended his former boss, I wondered if those over-sized black-rimmed glasses were compulsory for some Harvard faculty.

Paul Vardy
Paul Vardy
2 months ago
Reply to  Judy MacDonald

And he wasn’t keen on, or perhaps unaware of, discussing the major cause of black deaths from gang gun violence that has increased markedly since the BLM movement. Police have stepped back and the problems are worse.

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