CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - Harvard University’s decision to hire Elizabeth Warren as a law professor in the 1990s was not based on any assertion that she has Native American heritage, according to a report by the Boston Globe.
The newspaper reports that interviews and documents show the issue was not considered by Harvard Law faculty or those who admitted the now U.S. senator from Massachusetts to law school at Rutgers or to jobs at The University of Houston, The University of Texas, and the University of Pennsylvania.
“She was not on the radar screen at all in terms of a racial minority hire,” Randall Kennedy, a law professor who was in charge of recruiting minority candidates to Harvard Law School, told the Globe. “It was just not an issue. I can’t remember anybody ever mentioning her in this context.”
The Globe reports that it examined hundreds of documents, many of them never before available, and talked to 31 law school professors from that period at Harvard. All but one said her Native American heritage was not discussed as part of the decision to hire her. One said he was unsure if the issue came up, but if it did, it had no bearing on his vote.
Critics have charged that Warren has advanced her career with a narrative that she is a distant descendant of Cherokee and Delaware tribes and President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to Warren as “Pocahontas.”
Warren on Sunday posted on her website documents related to her job and school applications and again asserted that her heritage played no role in her career advancement.
“My family is my family,” Warren told the Globe. “But my background played no role in my getting hired anywhere.”
Warren, 69, is seeking re-election in November, and will face one of three Republicans running in a primary on Tuesday. She repeatedly has said she’s not running for president in 2020, but she continues to position herself as a national leader in the Democratic Party.