Dear President Faust and Dean Ellwood,
As members of the Harvard Kennedy School community and the greater Harvard community, we write to express deep concern about a PhD dissertation accepted by Harvard in 2009 entitled "IQ and Immigration Policy."
"IQ and Immigration Policy," written by Jason Richwine, advances the idea that "today’s immigrants are not as intelligent on average as white natives."(1) It argues that Hispanics have low IQ “because they come mostly from low IQ countries,”(2) not because of differences in education or socioeconomic status. It further asserts that low IQ is a cause of the “Hispanic underclass”(3) and is “effectively permanent.”(4) The document calls on policymakers to exploit differences in relative IQ in crafting future immigration policy.
"IQ and Immigration Policy" is troubling for many reasons. First, its racially charged rhetoric is profoundly worrying. Creating a racial hierarchy of intelligence for Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, and Native Americans is disturbing. This framework echoes a period in American history when dubious scientific claims supported institutionalized racism in American public policy.
Second, a wide body of academic literature counters the basic claims of this dissertation and raises questions about its academic rigor.
Finally, the ongoing controversy surrounding this work threatens the reputations of the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard University. Professors, students, and journalists, around the United States have already raised questions about the review process for this dissertation.
As members of the Kennedy School community and the greater Harvard University community, we unequivocally support academic freedom and a university dedicated to the open exchange of ideas.
At the same time, we believe this freedom does not excuse anyone from adhering to basic norms of academic inquiry nor should it provide a haven for expressions of racial prejudice.
As students, faculty, and fellows of Harvard University, we call on you to:
• Reject all scholarship based on doctrines of racial superiority or hierarchy;
• Explain how such scholarship could be approved by Harvard University;
• Launch a formal inquiry into the 2009 decision by the Committee on Public Policy to accept "IQ and Immigration Policy" in fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Harvard University.
Academic freedom and a reasoned debate are essential to our academic community. However, the Harvard Kennedy School cannot ethically stand by academic work advocating a national policy of exclusion and advancing an agenda of discrimination.
We ask that you publicly respond to these concerns in a timely fashion and no later than Friday, May 17, 2013.
The Undersigned Members of the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard University
1. Richwine, Jason. "IQ and Immigration Policy." Dissertation, Harvard Kennedy School. Ann Arbor: ProQuest, May 2009.
2. Richwine, 68
3. Richwine, 4
4. Richwine, 66