Over 1,000 Harvard students delivered a petition to Harvard University’s JFK School on Saturday, demanding an investigation into how and why the school approved a 2009 doctoral thesis arguing that Hispanics have lower IQs. The thesis was written by Jason Richwine, a co-author of a paper by the conservative Heritage Foundation that argued immigration reform would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion. The discovery of Richwine’s paper by the Washington Post sparked a firestorm around the Heritage study, and several days later Richwine resigned from the think tank.
Now Harvard students want to know how a thesis built on those views and assumptions was able to make it through the approval process in the first place. “Academic freedom and a reasoned debate are essential to our academic community,’’ the petition read. “However, the Harvard Kennedy School cannot ethically stand behind academic work advocating a national policy of exclusion and advancing an agenda of discrimination.”
Several days ago, 24 student groups at Harvard wrote a letter condeming the university’s approval of Richwine’s dissertation, saying it “debases” all their degrees.