When I was a guest on Nightside with Dan Rea (audio of last appearance — no audio of show mentioned below) shortly prior to the election, a caller brought up an incident in 2009 when Elizabeth Warren and other Harvard Law faculty did nothing, and did not offer up their own pay cuts, to help save staff positions, including in the Harvard Law library, in the wake of the 2008 market turmoil which caused Harvard to seek to reduce overhead.
Not that it would have made a difference in the election. If voters were willing to ignore Warren’s ethnic fraud, among other things, a little hypocrisy when it comes to saving law school staff jobs wasn’t going to sway them.
Nonetheless, I regretted not posting about it because getting the truth out about Elizabeth Warren is important given her demeaning rhetoric towards people who disagree with her. Which is why I’m hoping (I said hoping, not guaranteeing) to have The Elizabeth Warren File live by the day she is sworn in in early January.
Getting back to the staff jobs, The Cambridge, MA, Wicked Local just ran a letter to the editor which sounds like it was from that caller, LETTER: Warren didn’t stand up for low-income Harvard employees
Cambridge — Posted Nov 26, 2012 @ 12:56 PMSenator-elect Elizabeth Warren says she is a “fighter” for moderate-income Americans (“Warren wins U.S. Senate seat,” CambridgeChronicle, Nov. 8). When given the opportunity to stand up for low-income employees at Harvard three years ago, however, where she has been a tenured professor for almost 20 years, Warren did nothing of the sort.
In 2009, at the depth of the recession, Harvard’s endowment, because of its high-risk investing, decreased 30 percent. The university proclaimed it needed to cut costs and warned low-paid staff of layoffs. Many on campus asked the administration to follow the example of institutions like Beth Israel hospital and request faculty and other high earners to take pay reductions as a means to save jobs.
Several employees at Harvard Law School circulated a petition asking all law school members, who could, to make such a sacrifice. Warren and her husband (also a Harvard Law professor) have combined yearly incomes in the $1 million range and she earned another $200,000 for work she called “part-time” in Washington. During this uneasy period when across campus staff feared for their livelihoods, Warren remained silent.
Harvard president Drew Faust — whose own salary is close to $1 million — and university administrators ignored requests for pay reductions. Ultimately 275 lower-income employees lost their jobs and many more were persuaded to retire. Harvard professors, ever fond of inveighing against “corporate greed” and voicing slogans like “shared sacrifice,” suffered no inconvenience.
Warren now vows to go to Washington to fight for the middle class. But, like so many academics, she is more adept at feathering her own nest than truly helping Americans in need.
–Stephen Helfer, Crawford Street
Helfer served as a library assistant at Harvard Law School for 22 years and retired in 2009.
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