Harvard University President Compares Freeing of Slaves to Fund-Raising Efforts
Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow compared the 13th Amendment, which freed slaves in the United States, to the university’s fundraising efforts and its relationship with wealthy donors. Bacow suggested that just as the 13th Amendment barred the ownership of slaves, Harvard’s individual schools could no longer own their specific wealthy graduates, the Boston Globe reports. Bacow was speaking to hundreds of Harvard’s alumni relations and fund-raising staff earlier this week. Bacow sent an email Saturday morning saying he understood that some attendees felt “unsettled” by his comments. “I regret that these comments caused offense,” Bacow said in the email. “That certainly was not my intent.” The Globe reports that Harvard’s individual schools have their own fund-raising and alumni relations staff, and typically hold onto their own donors, which can lead to disparities in funding among the schools. Bacow said in the email that the university’s fund-raising officials should help donors who may be interested in giving to schools where they had no prior affiliation.