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As has already been diaried by Hunter, one of the authors of the discredited Heritage 'study' on immigration turns out to have written a dissertation on the need to exclude Hispanic immigration due to their alleged lower IQs.  Others have already discussed/explained/facepalmed the obvious bigotry of this position.  I am more concerned with another question.

Who the fuck signed off on Richwine's dissertation?

Richwine 'earned' his PhD in Public Policy in 2009 from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.  His dissertation committee consisted of

George J. Borjas (chair)
Richard J. Zeckhauser
Christopher Jenks

Borjas is your basic, run-of-the-mill anti-immigrant conservative, with substantial scholarly and popular works explaining just how bad brown people are for America.

Zeckhauser is more of a money guy, but his wikipedia page describes him as one of "the "whiz kids" assembled by Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara to apply cutting-edge analysis to Cold War military strategy."

The oddball in this list is Christopher Jenks.  Jenks is currently on the editorial board of the American Prospect and many decades ago he was the editor of the New Republic.  In the acknowledgements of Richwine's dissertation, he states that

I want to thank my Harvard committee members, starting with George Borjas, who helped me navigate the minefield of early graduate school and has now seen me through to the finish. Richard Zeckhauser, never someone to shy away from controversial ideas, immediately embraced my work and offered new ideas as well as incisive critiques. Christopher Jencks generously signed on as the committee's late addition and offered his own valuable input.
Reading between the lines, it seems to me that someone refused to pass the dissertation as written, and Jenks was brought in late.

Whatever else, these three people signed and passed Richwine's obviously bigotted and substandard dissertation.  A dissertation that was so obviously wrong and bigoted that the Heritage Foundation...the Heritage Foundation...distanced themselves from Richwine immediately.

These three professors should be held publicly accountable.  More-so, I believe that the signatures of these professors demonstrate, unequivocally, that simple bigotry resides at the heart of movement conservatism--and that this bigotry is no different whether taking about teabaggers or 'scholars'.

The dean of the Kennedy School of Government is David T. Ellwood, (david_ellwood@Harvard.Edu).  I've already dropped him a line asking why the School awarded Richwine a PhD and what they plan to do in the future to prevent it from happening again. Perhaps you might as well.

Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:12 PM PT: Sorry to have been absent from this diary for so long now.  When I posted it I never thought it would get to the rec list, and I was frankly startled to see it still there when I woke up this morning.  I stuck around as long as I could.

A couple thoughts to add after all the comments.

1. Clearly there is too much variation and potential hijinks about PhD committees for my claim that the late addition of Jencks might show some problems in getting people to sign off on the dissertation.  That was based on my experience as a professor in one discipline and school.  Clearly, every school and discipline seems to do things differently.  So, I concede that I overstated that.

2. Many folks are saying things like Harvard is a bullshit institution, Bush got his MBA there, it is a school for the 1%, etc.  At some level all of that is true.  I have my PhD (not from Harvard), and I would be the first to admit that a PhD does not indicate some great level of intelligence.  That said, there is a difference between a PhD and an MBA, and while Harvard is seriously over-rated, they aren't the simple hacks some claim them to be.  A Harvard PhD does still mean something to many folks.

I can live with dumb people getting PhDs for dumb things.  Its always happened and it always will.  But a PhD for what is basically a low-budget version of 19th and early-20th century eugenics?  No, that is too fucking far.  That is beyond what is acceptable.  


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