Apr 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Harvard commits $100 million to redress ties to slavery

A view of a gate to Harvard Yard on the campus of Harvard University on July 08, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Harvard University faculty, staff and leaders enslaved more than 70 individuals during the 17th and 18th centuries, according to a long-awaited report out Tuesday that details the university's ties to slavery.

Driving the news: "Harvard benefited from and in some ways perpetuated practices that were profoundly immoral,” Harvard president Lawrence S. Bacow said in a statement.

  • "Consequently, I believe we bear a moral responsibility to do what we can to address the persistent corrosive effects of those historical practices on individuals, on Harvard, and on our society," Bacow said.
  • Harvard also announced Tuesday that it was committing $100 million to study and redress its ties to slavery based on the report's recommendations.
  • "The damage caused by Harvard’s entanglements with slavery and its legacies warrant action," per the report.

Between the lines: Among the recommendations outlined in the report — titled "Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery" — the committee recommends working to improve educational opportunities for the descendants of Black and Native American enslaved people.

  • The committee also recommends honoring enslaved people through memorials, research and curriculum, among other recommendations.

The big picture: The report comes as several other universities, including Brown, Georgetown and Princeton Theological Seminary, are examining their ties to slavery, the New York Times reports.

  • The report was conducted by a team of Harvard faculty and comes more than two years after Bacow formed the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery, The Harvard Crimson reports.
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