RBC’s candidate for Harvard Overseer

Lesley Friedman Rosenthal on the Harvard Board of Overseers? They’ll never know what hit ’em!

Whenever I hear the term “Harvard Board of Overseers” I imagine a bunch of slavedrivers with whips. That, of course, is grossly unfair: Harvard, like the rest of New England Brahmin society, benefited from slavery, but largely – after the abolition of the legal slave trade in 1808 – without getting its hands dirty: mostly by financing slaveholding. Pecunia non olet, and all that.

It’s also unfair because, as far as I understand it (that is to say, not very far) the real muscle lies with the self-perpetuating Harvard Corporation (“The President and Fellows of Harvard College”) rather than with the elected Overseers.

Presumably most RBC readers were, even in their youth, wise enough to avoid what is laughingly called a “Harvard education” as undergradutes. Most, but not all. And it’s harder to avoid catching a dose of Veritas when seeking a professional degree or doing a Ph.D., so it seems likely that some of you got caught in the toils, or were even forced to take a Harvard degree (without the purported education) as the price of getting tenure. (The Harvard statutes require that every tenured professor hold a Harvard M.A., and the degree is ritually conferred as needed.)

If for any of those reasons you are entitled to sing “Fight Fiercely, Hahvahd,” you are also entitled to vote for the Overseers. That being the case, you will certainly wish to vote for the RBC’s own Lesley Friedman Rosenthal, General Counsel at Lincoln Center, author of a wonderful book on lawyering for not-for-profits, and my friend since she was a sophomore on the banks of the Charles and I was a graduate student who needed help finding footnotes for my thesis. Lesley’s brand of polite, even-tempered, utterly reasonable bomb-throwing is just what the place could use.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

5 thoughts on “RBC’s candidate for Harvard Overseer”

  1. I'd vote early and often for Lesley out of blogotribal loyalty – as it is, I can only vote for the Oxford Professor of Poetry. Edinburgh and Glasgow students elect their respective Rectors: it’s not an executive post, but not trivial either.

    However, what would be Overseer Lesley’s position on fossil fuel divestment? It’s a live issue, and the sort of thing where even a symbolic office offers a useful platform for a wider movement. The Corporation presumably has to respond in some way to representations from the Overseers. The Harvard management has already given a little ground (on using its shareholdings to secure carbon disclosure), and a guilty conscience goes a long way in Boston.

  2. I am voting for Lesley and also for Michael Brown. And some others too.

    No one gets into anything too specific in their statements. All a bit buttoned-up as you'd expect. I hope they listen to you though, James.

    But really I came on here to ask, was getting rid of a few idiots really worth the sacrifice of people like Ebenezer and Katja? It's boring around here now. Harrumph.

    1. agreed. It's a pain to sign up, and one loses one's old moniker, for reasons I don't understand.

  3. How rude Sir . I'd like to point out that Tom Lehrer's Harvard BA never did him any harm (I knew he never finished his PhD dissertation so I had to Wikipedia him). Also, uh I don't want to be rude, but don't *you* have a Harvard degree or two ?

  4. It may very well be that "most RBC readers were, even in their youth, wise enough to avoid what is laughingly called a “Harvard education” as undergradutes." however, Lesley Friedman Rosenthal A.B. 1986 JD 1989 was as foolish as I A.B. 1982 PhD 1989 was. While respecting the secrecy of the ballot I note that I will not allow your dreadful dreadful slight to affect my blind obedience to your will …. uh I mean my independent judgment.

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