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Harvey Weinstein & Harvard

The Crimson recently produced an article about the ongoing global debate about sexual assault and misconduct and how it will  cause the search committee looking for Harvard’s next president to vet candidates more extensively. 

In the article Ted Webb, a search expert at Ford Webb Associates who recruits for both public and private sector organizations, said he thinks the increased scrutiny of bad behavior will ultimately improve the University’s selection process.

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“The #MeToo movement brings some light, if you will, into who's being hired,” Webb said. “That's a good thing. And maybe it complicates the process a bit, but to me, that's good trouble.”

In particular, Webb said the slew of sexual assault allegations will put “pressure” on recruiters—including Harvard’s searchers—to disqualify people with histories of bad behaviors. 


Also in the article, Paula B. Fazli ’85, a search expert at Sage Search Partners, said she worries potential candidates’ accolades like ability to fundraise might distract from or obscure their past bad behavior as the search committee seeks to evaluate contenders. Lee said the committee will also prioritize “fundamental human characteristics” like integrity. 


The #HarvardNotForSale movement has focused on these same concerns of scrutinizing candidates with histories of bad behavior and a lack of good moral judgement. It should not take a Weinstein bombshell to give the committee pause and stand up against bad behavior. 


We live in a world where histories of bad behaviors are brought to light. Where misdeeds in far away places are made transparent. Multiple cases of bad behavior and judgement will come out. It should not take an SEC announcement of a formal investigation to force the search committee to do the right thing. 


Fundraising is not our god at Harvard.