Student Activists at Harvard Want the Board of Overseers to Change its Name

“cannot be separated from its historical context and connotations”

The students claim that the word ‘overseer’ has a connection to slavery. Seems like a bit of a stretch, no?

The College Fix reports:

Harvard activist group wants Board of Overseers name changed — because slavery

A Harvard University activist group wants the name of the school’s Board of Overseers changed due to the last word’s connection to slavery.

According to The Crimson, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard noted “overseer” has “historically referred to men hired by plantation owners to violently control slaves.”


The Board of Overseers is Harvard’s “second-highest governing body.” The Coalition, which advocates “diversity, equity, and inclusion” at the school, has sought the name change for three years.

Coalition board member Jane Sujen Bock said many Board of Overseer candidates “had not previously considered the ramifications of the title’s link to slavery.” The five candidates supported by the Coalition support a name change.

As you might expect, Bock cited the current “anti-racist” atmosphere in the country as leading to a “greater push” for a new name.

From the story:

Harvard Forward, a student and alumni group working to bring attention to climate change and recent alumni representation within Harvard’s governance boards, said they found the term “Overseers” to be “problematic” in a Wednesday Instagram post.

“The term ‘Overseer’ cannot be separated from its historical context and connotations. The continued use of a word characterized by such deep-rooted racism is a testament to Harvard’s failure to confront our country’s history,” they wrote.

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Author: Mike LaChance

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