In “the most exhaustive review” ever undertaken on the subject, The Boston Globefound the answer to a question that has been hounding Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren for six years now: Did Warren only get her job with Harvard because “she had decided to self-identify as a Native American woman and Harvard saw a chance to diversify the law faculty”?
After reviewing documents given to the left-leaning outlet by Warren and speaking with over two-dozen of her peers, the Globe concludes that, despite claims from her “conservative critics,” Warren’s “remarkable rise in the legal profession” had nothing to do with her unsubstantiated claim to be a Native American.
“In the most exhaustive review undertaken of Elizabeth Warren’s professional history, the Globe found clear evidence, in documents and interviews, that her claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty, which voted resoundingly to hire her, or by those who hired her to four prior positions at other law schools,” the Globe’s Annie Linsky writes. “At every step of her remarkable rise in the legal profession, the people responsible for hiring her saw her as a white woman.”
Linsky begins by describing the dramatic setting in which Warren’s fate with Harvard was decided: 60-plus Harvard Law School professors gathered in an auditorium-style room in February 1993. “The atmosphere was a little fraught. Outside the hall, students held a silent vigil to demand the law school add more minorities and women to a faculty dominated by white men,” writes Linsky, acknowledging that identity politics literally surrounded the decision on Warren’s job offer.
While that closed-door conversation would usually remain confidential, the Globe managed to get 31 of the 52 professors involved in that pivotal discussion to talk. All but one of the professors told the Globe that they had been “unaware” of Warren’s unsubstantiated claims to Native American heritage — which she started to claim when she had a position at the University of Pennsylvania. “One professor told the Globe he is unsure whether her heritage came up, but is certain that, if it did, it had no bearing on his vote on Warren’s appointment,” notes Linsky.
So how did the Globe get access to the information about Warren’s hiring? In response to all those “conservative critics” and President Trump “caustically” hammering “Pocahontas” about her Native American claim, Warren herself took the unusual step of releasing the contents of her university personnel files to the outlet.
“The release of the documents raises an obvious question: What took her so long?” Linsky writes. Warren gave the Globe the answer: “This is the kind of public servant I want to be — transparent,” she said. “I just, I’m ready for it all to be out there.”
The Globe found that Warren first began to call herself Native American two years after she began teaching at Penn and first listed her ethnicity as Native American “nearly five months after she started her tenured position at Harvard and 2½ years after she was there as a visiting professor and first offered the job.” Why she would describe herself as Native American at Penn but then not do so upon applying to Harvard is unclear.
“The Globe closely reviewed the records, verified them where possible, and conducted more than 100 interviews with her colleagues and every person who had a role in hiring decisions about Warren who could be reached. In sum, it is clear that Warren was viewed as a white woman by the hiring committees at every institution that employed her,” Linsky concludes.