Ackman and Zuckerberg-Backed Candidates Fall Short in Bid for Harvard Board Seats Amid Controversies

Ackman and Zuckerberg-Backed Candidates Fall Short in Bid for Harvard Board Seats Amid Controversies |


Source – The New York Times

In a setback for billionaire investor Bill Ackman and Zuckerberg, their supported candidates failed to secure spots on the ballot for Harvard University’s board of overseers. The campaign, marked by allegations of antisemitism, plagiarism, and financial mismanagement, unfolded against the backdrop of Harvard President Claudine Gay’s recent resignation. The university faces criticism for its handling of antisemitism and plagiarism claims.

Harvard’s board of overseers, the second-highest governing body, plays a crucial role in approving or rejecting the hiring of the university’s president. Ackman and Zuckerberg independently backed candidates critical of the university’s leadership.

Late on Friday, Harvard informed the candidates that they did not meet the required threshold to get on the ballot. The slate supported by Ackman, including Zoe Bedell, Alec Williams, Logan Leslie, and Julia Pollak, received between 2,300 and 2,700 votes each. Sam Lessin, Zuckerberg’s backed candidate, secured 2,901 votes, falling short of the 3,238 votes needed to secure a spot on the ballot.

Ackman and Harvard Silent on Ballot Results Amidst Calls for University Reform

Both Ackman and Harvard did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the ballot results. Ackman, a Harvard alumnus, has been a vocal critic of President Gay and previously stated that the university needs change.

Harvard increased the number of signatures required to get on the ballot without the alumni association’s endorsement from 200 to 1% of those eligible to vote. The university argues that this prevents special interests from hijacking the nomination process.

The Renew Harvard group, supported by Ackman, plans to try again next year as write-in candidates on the ballot. The group called for upholding free speech, protecting students from harassment, and addressing financial mismanagement at the university.

Lawrence Summers Supports Dissident Candidates Amid Harvard Governance Debates

Despite the setbacks, Lawrence Summers, former Harvard president and U.S. Treasury secretary, spoke in favor of dissident candidates, urging support for challenges to Harvard’s traditional leadership.

The board of overseers, while not as powerful as the Harvard Corporation, wields influence through the visitation process, allowing them to question faculty, departments, and conduct assessments at the university. The controversies and the unsuccessful bid for board seats underscore the ongoing debate about leadership and governance at Harvard.

Also Read: What is Personalized Learning and Why is it Important?

Most Popular Stories