Harvard Hiring Freeze Could Present Big Opportunity for Other Universities to Attract Black Scholars

Due to the budget crunch resulting from a 22 percent or more drop in the value of the Harvard University endowment, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University has suspended all searches for tenured and tenure-track faculty appointments. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is facing cuts of as much as $125 million from its $1.2 billion operating budget.

With Harvard currently no longer in the market for lateral hires of top-flight black scholars, other universities may have an easier time drawing black academics to join their faculties. And perhaps more important, the pay freeze in place for African Americans who now serve on the Harvard faculty may prompt other universities to make raids on Harvard’s faculty ranks. Black scholars at Harvard may receive lucrative offers from deans at other universities who know that Harvard will now not be able to match their offers due to the imposition of a pay freeze.

One must always keep in mind that Harvard is famous for making rules, but rules with exception. In the end, the university tends to operate under the exceptions rather than the rules. JBHE sees a distinct possibility Harvard’s recruiting of black academics may continue to go forward under the traditional exception practice.