Why conflicts of interest harm education so deeply.
In this new era of fake news where the leader of the free world calls established news sources fake and amateur news sources correct, and where many established news sources are abandoning objectivity more and more every day and encourage contentious and heartless bickering from highly opinionated pundits with clear agendas (because it sells), it is of upmost importance that academia holds strong to objectivity truth and integrity and remain a bastion of higher learning with an uncompromising passion to seek out facts and truth rather than becoming mired down in corporate agendas, by pushing the opinions, partisan politics or shameless marketing of donors to pay them back and even agreeing to serve on their boards which puts Harvard in a blatant conflict of interest.
There is a reason why entities like National Public Radio have refused to advertise for companies who have donated money. They seek to remain unencumbered by payback obligations. An executive at the television show “60 Minutes” was recently interviewed and he was asked how they have remained successful for so long. He said that they focused on doing stories that they felt were relevant and not based on what viewers wanted to see. He said once you go down that road it quickly becomes a slippery slope and you find yourself simply chasing after advertising dollars. While this development in society of chasing after money over principles, excellence and ethics is depressing and sad, it can be somewhat understood when speaking of companies trying to stay in business. It is completely unacceptable, however, for a university to follow the same trend. Least of all, Harvard. Academia is, in many ways, one of the last bastions of truth telling institutions.
As Duff McDonald so clearly demonstrated in his recent book, “The Golden Passport”, Harvard Business School has forgotten itself and its sense of ethics over the last several decades. As Harvard has become increasingly prestigious and wealthy, it has become consumed by this greed and, as a result, become entangled in a web of paybacks to corporations that feed the greed. It has become more of a business than an academic institution.
HBS Dean Nitin Nohira represents this obsession with fundraising and meeting his Friends & Families selfish interests more than anyone at Harvard. Notwithstanding the fact that Dean Nohira has been embroiled in so many scandals and conflicts of interest with major donors to Harvard ranging from insider trading (to keep himself in the already compromised and unethical position of power he is in - story to come), to orchestrating wildly unethical and illegal corporate takeovers on behalf of major Harvard donors, he is still a front runner for the position of President of Harvard. Why? Ask anyone and they will all tell you the same answer. His ability to fund raise. Has fundraising become so important for the wealthiest university in the world that it has completely ignored ethics and conflicts of interest?
This must stop. Harvard Not for Sale.