OUR 2020 PLATFORM

Each Harvard Forward candidate will advocate for the Harvard Forward platform during their tenure on the Board of Overseers. In the meantime, we are developing detailed and actionable policy proposals for each of our priorities by inviting input from members of the Harvard community who are leaders in each of these areas, both on- and off-campus.

ON THE ISSUES

While the 2020 Harvard Forward platform is focused on climate action, inclusive governance, and responsible investing, there are many issues of importance to the Harvard community that arose during the course of the campaign. Many of these issues have now been incorporated into the 2021 platform. Here is how our 2020 candidates responded:

CLIMATE JUSTICE & RESPONSIBLE INVESTING

INCLUSIVE GOVERNANCE & STUDENT VOICES

  • Complete and swift Divestment of all University assets from fossil fuels.
     

  • More transparent and robust processes for developing Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines.
     

  • Increased support for climate-focused Research & Education Initiatives.

  • Reserving six seats on the Board for Recent Alumni Overseers.
     

  • Multiple yearly, open Board Town Halls that give students from all our schools a chance to be heard.
     

  • Semesterly presentations to the Board by the UC and HGC Presidents.

HARVARD GRADUATE STUDENT UNION


As Harvard Forward candidates, we stand behind HGSU-UAW as student workers fight to secure a fair, equitable contract. We further urge Harvard administrators to negotiate in good faith to reach contract agreements that address HGSU-UAW’s concerns regarding compensation and health care, as well as agree to an independent grievance procedure for discrimination and sexual harassment. Uplifting student voices and concerns, including through governance structures that enshrine an institutional role for student and alumni representatives, is a shared priority of HGSU-UAW and Harvard Forward. We believe that the Harvard University administration and governance structures, as constituted now, undervalue the voices of undergraduate and graduate students. If elected to the Board of Overseers, each member of our Harvard Forward slate is deeply committed to listening to and advocating for HGSU-UAW members and the broader concerns of students and student workers campus-wide. You can read our campaign's full statement of support for HGSU-UAW here.




HARVARD PRISON DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN


As Harvard Forward candidates, we personally believe that Harvard University should not invest in companies that financially profit off of the prison-industrial complex, an industry whose activities are “deeply repugnant and ethically unjustifiable” and currently inflict devastating, disproportionate harm on predominantly low-income Black and Brown communities nationwide. We are committed to developing and advocating for a more transparent, robust, accountable framework for investing the University’s substantial financial resources in a manner that appropriately balances competing social and ethical concerns, including concerns over the many harms that the prison-industrial complex now perpetrates across our society.




HARVARD ETHNIC STUDIES COALITION


“Over the past 47 years, Harvard students have submitted 11 proposals for ethnic studies. Today, neither a concentration nor a department for ethnic studies exists at Harvard.” This statement from the HESC website highlights Harvard’s unwillingness to value its students’ input and needs, even when this exclusion negatively affects their educational experiences—and the experiences of those students, faculty, and alumni who come after them. The desire for an Ethnic Studies concentration and department is one that is felt not only by students, but also by Harvard alumni of all ages, races, and other backgrounds who are committed to making Harvard the inclusive and diverse institution that it needs to be. As candidates, we are committed to regularly seeking and elevating demands like these, ensuring that students and alumni of all generations have input in Harvard’s governance. If elected, we will be fierce allies for the Harvard students now fighting for the establishment of an Ethnic Studies department and concentration.




HARVARD'S CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE


Harvard has a responsibility to look after those who make the University run with their labor. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we stand behind all Harvard workers requesting pay and benefits security and adequate workplace protections, including access to necessary protective equipment and medical testing. While Harvard has agreed to guarantee payment to its workers through May thanks in part to an online petition garnering thousands of signatures, we urge the University to extend its policy for the length of their closure. Harvard also has a responsibility to look after its students, especially in uncertain times. While de-densifying campus certainly appears to have been the right response to the coronavirus outbreak from a public health standpoint, the University placed many students, especially those who are first-generation, low-income, or international, in difficult situations by providing only a five-day notice to move out without preparing properly for the fallout of that decision. It was encouraging to see the Harvard community coordinate mutual aid funds for students and temporary storage arrangements with local alumni, but those last-resort measures should not have fallen on students and alumni to organize and execute. In the future, such drastic decisions should be made with considerable, direct input from current students to redress the administration’s blindspots. As a minimum, the University should consider bolstering housing guarantees for students who need it, as well as the establishment or expansion of emergency funds to support students in times of crisis. As Overseers, we will work to ensure that student voices are part of these crucial conversations.




BLACK LIVES MATTER


Our campaign for the Harvard Board of Overseers is not about any single issue as much as it is about a shared vision of how we can leverage the power and privilege of Harvard to bring about a sustainable future and a more just and equitable society.

In order to create a sustainable future, we must dismantle systems of oppression. We remember George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and other victims of white supremacy. We affirm that Black Lives Matter, and we believe that Harvard must do more to be a force for justice.

Before Harvard can truly act as a force for justice, it must stop perpetuating injustice. It must listen to the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign and divest from the prison-industrial complex.

It must listen to Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard and divest from the industry behind the climate crisis, which most severely harms marginalized people—just as COVID-19 is most severely harming communities of color nationwide.

It must listen to and act upon the demands of the students, alumni, faculty, and staff who hold the university accountable for its past and present injustices. This means making significant systemic changes and committing to active anti-racism work as an institution.

We stand in solidarity with both the nationwide and Harvard-focused movements for racial justice. We are working to better connect with and uplift the efforts of racial justice organizers in the Harvard community. This includes working with organizers and stakeholders to bolster the Harvard Forward platform to explicitly include policy proposals for anti-racism efforts at Harvard moving forward.




#RENAMETHEOVERSEERS


While the Board of Overseers derives its name from its role in overseeing the welfare of the University, the term "overseer" cannot be separated from its historical context, which is deeply tied to the institution of slavery in the United States. As was the case with the term "house master" in the upperclassman dorms, the continued use of such a term is antithetical to Harvard's goal of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for its diverse student and alumni bodies. That is why we wholeheartedly support the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard in their call to #RenameTheOverseers.





DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard* provides Overseer candidates with a questionnaire focusing on diversity and inclusion. This questionnaire is administered to all candidates and does not connote an endorsement from the Coalition or any of its affiliated groups.

Here are our 2020 candidates' responses:

Questions about our platform?