Harvard University appoints its first black president

In the midst of a debate in the Supreme Court on positive discrimination for students, Harvard, the prestigious private American university, appointed, this Thursday, as its head the dean of its main faculty, Claudine Gay, who becomes the first black president of the ‘institution.

Daughter of Haitian immigrants, professor of African and African-American studies, Claudine Gay is considered a specialist in minority policies. “Ms. Gay is a dedicated teacher and mentor whose courses have covered topics such as racial and ethnic politics in the United States, black politics in the post-civil rights era, American political behaviors and citizenship. democratic,” writes the university, announcing its appointment on its website.

More than 600 applications

A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she also founded and directed the Harvard Inequality Initiative in America, “a multidisciplinary effort to energize Harvard’s teaching and research on social and economic inequality. “, underlines Penny Pritzker, at the head of the selection committee of the new president. She is currently Dean of the Faculty in charge of Sciences and Social Sciences.

His appointment, which came after a months-long process that generated more than 600 applications, comes as Harvard, first in the Shanghai World University Rankings for twenty years, is at the heart of a major debate on affirmative action in the within the very conservative Supreme Court of the United States.

“Reverse racism”

Seized by a neoconservative activist, the Court had devoted on October 31 nearly five hours of hearing to the admission procedures in the oldest private and public universities in the country, those of Harvard and North Carolina, which take into account take into account the skin color or the ethnic origin of their candidates in the evaluation of their files.

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The objective is to correct the inequalities resulting from the segregationist past of the United States and to increase the share of black, Hispanic or Native American students in higher education, but these policies have always been criticized in conservative circles which consider them opaque. and see it as “reverse racism”. The high court must render its decision, which would apply to the whole country, before the end of June 2023. Claudine Gay will take office on July 1, 2023 at the university located in Cambridge, near Boston.

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