Sen. Scott Brown wants to know why Harvard listed his rival,
Elizabeth Warren, as a native American professor. The issue has not
tipped the race yet, but it could, the Brown camp says.
Sen. Scott Brown (R) of Massachusetts said Friday that Harvard
Law School should "correct the record" regarding its past listing of
Elizabeth Warren, his Senate-race rival, as a minority faculty
The issue has emerged as a controversy in recent weeks in what is
shaping up to be the nation's top Senate race, as it became known
that Ms. Warren had in the past classified herself as native
American, based on a self-avowed ancestral connection, although she
claims no current affiliation with an Indian community.
"The Boston Globe today has a story that states that Harvard may
have violated federal guidelines in the reporting of diversity
information because of what Elizabeth Warren told them," Senator
Brown said in a statement released by his campaign. "I call on
Harvard President Faust to immediately correct the record with the
relevant federal agencies and uphold Harvard's 400-year-old
tradition of abiding by the truth."
The freshman senator's nudge to Harvard comes after his campaign
has also issued calls for Warren herself to "come clean" on the
So far, important details on the issue remain murky, in part
because Warren has not asked her employers (at Harvard and, before
that, at the University of Pennsylvania) to release personnel
records related to her hiring. Here are some things that are known:
She placed herself on a list of "minority" law professors in a
national directory of law schools during the 1980s and early '90s,
and Harvard claimed she was a native American faculty member, but by
the late 1990s she had dropped her name from the directory's
While the two rivals are campaigning on numerous policy
differences, the question of Warren's self-listing as a minority has
become the campaign's most prominent issue that touches on personal
character and credibility. The question takes on added significance
because Warren has built her public persona in part by pushing for
greater accountability by Wall Street banks. Her critics, including
some Democrats, say she has failed to show accountability herself.
A poll this week showed the two candidates virtually equal in
their support from likely voters in Massachusetts. Warren must also
win the Democratic nomination in a Sept. 6 primary, and so far is
running far ahead of challenger Marisa DeFranco, an immigration
In Friday's statement, Brown pushed back against Warren for
implying that he's raising a nonissue. "This Native American
controversy is a problem of Elizabeth Warren's own making. She
falsely described herself as a minority and some of the schools
where she worked relied on that information to misrepresent the
diversity of their faculty," Brown said.
Warren has said she did not seek to use minority status for
advantage when seeking teaching jobs, including at Harvard. She has
said she wasn't aware of being viewed as a minority hire until she
saw it in recent news reports.
"I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean
that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group, something that might
happen with people who are like I am," Warren said on May 2,
according to a report in the Boston Herald the next day. "Nothing
like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it, and so
I stopped checking it off."
One loose end in the saga is very basic: Does Warren really have
native American roots? …