CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – The results of a multi-year study are providing a look behind the gates of the nation’s oldest university and the problematic past that helped it grow.
Harvard University published the findings of a three-year review that looked at the University’s legacy with slavery and is pouring $100 million into an endowment to “redress” past wrongs.
A commission, formed by current university president Lawrence Bacow, combed through decades of records to find Harvard enslaved more than 70 people over the course of 150 years.
Those people were forced to work for University Presidents, faculty, staff, and even feed and care for students, according to the report.
Bacow called for a commission to review the institution in 2019, when conversations about race were intensifying nationwide.
“The truth is that slavery played a significant part in our institutional history,” Bacow said.
In a video message Tuesday, Bacow addressed the findings head on and noted how even after slavery ended, its effects were felt for decades.
“The legacy of slavery continues to influence the world in the form of disparities in education, health wealth, income, social mobility and almost any other metric we might use to measure equality.”
Students on campus received an email Tuesday notifying them of the report.
“I think it is something they should looked at a long time ago. The fact they are starting now is a good first step,” said Harvard University sophomore, Rory Pan.
“We (Harvard) are involved in the history of slavery very much so,” said Pan. “I am glad the administration is investigating it now.”
Jake Brown is a senior at Harvard studying economics.
“It’s not surprising,” said Brown. “I feel like if you look deep into any history there is no place or person that has no wrongs. Especially slavery. It’s deep rooted in this country.”
The report laid our suggested steps Harvard could take in its efforts to “redress” past wrongs.
Among them, the report suggests engagement with communities of descendants, partnering with historically Black colleges and universities, creating an endowment to fund reparation efforts, and more.
The $100 million in funding is set create an endowment to fuel these recommendations.