Events & exhibitions

And Then COVID Came: Supporting Inclusive Student Life at Harvard University

Join us for a conversation exploring the Harvard student experience in the wake of a national reckoning over long-standing racial inequalities, a global pandemic, and sustained economic uncertainty. We will unpack the lessons this unprecedented period holds for the University as it reckons with its ties to slavery and seeks to better support historically underserved students.

Anthony Abraham Jack, author of the acclaimed book The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students (2019, Harvard University Press), and Sherri Ann Charleston, Harvard’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer, will take as their starting point the findings and implications of Jack’s new research, supported by the Presidential Committee on Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery and completed in large part at Radcliffe, tentatively titled When Campus Closed: Privilege, Poverty, and Pandemic Life at Harvard University (under contract, Princeton University Press). Harvard Radcliffe Institute Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin, who chaired the presidential committee, will moderate.

This program is presented as part of the Presidential Initiative on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery, a University-wide effort anchored at Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

Join us for a reception starting at 6 PM. Program begins at 7 PM.

Speakers

Tomiko Brown-Nagin is dean of Harvard Radcliffe Institute, one of the world’s leading centers for interdisciplinary research across the humanities, sciences, social sciences, arts, and professions. She is also the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and a professor of history at Harvard University. An award-winning legal historian and an expert in constitutional law and education law and policy, Brown-Nagin was appointed chair of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery, which is anchored at the Radcliffe Institute, in 2019. The Committee issued a landmark report detailing the University’s direct, financial, and intellectual ties to slavery, which resulted in Harvard’s commitment of $100 million to redress harms to descendant communities in the United States and in the Caribbean.

Tomiko Brown Nagin Radcliffe By Kris Snibbe Harvard Staff Photographer

Sherri Ann Charleston is Harvard University’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDIO) and head of the Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (OEDIB). A leading expert in diversity and higher education, she assumed her role in August 2020. Charleston is a historian trained in US history with a focus on race, women, gender, citizenship, and the law. As an attorney her specializations are in constitutional and employment law. As an academician and administrator, her areas of expertise focus on affirmative action, Title IX, and Americans with Disability Act enforcement and compliance. Charleston was appointed chair of the Nondiscrimination Working Group as part of the University's discrimination and harassment policy review, and oversaw the first University-wide EDIB Forum and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture. She brings over a decade of experience in leading higher education efforts and translating diversity and inclusion research into practice for university communities including students, staff, researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty of color.

Portrait of Sherri Ann Charleston

Anthony Abraham Jack PhD ’16, RI ’22 is a Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, and an assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research documents the overlooked diversity among lower-income undergraduates: the “doubly disadvantaged” (those who enter college from local, typically distressed public high schools) and the “privileged poor” (those who do so from boarding, day, and preparatory high schools). His first book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, was published in 2019 and reveals how—and why—disadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges and explains what these schools can do differently if these students are to thrive.

Portrait of Anthony Abraham Jack

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