Over the weekend, more news emerged about the bizarre controversy over how Elizabeth Warren and Harvard University identified the law professor’s ethnicity. Warren has claimed that she did not identify herself as a minority, and didn’t know that Harvard had, but Harvard registered her as a Native American in a federal database that’s usually based on self-identification (indeed, one wonders how else someone would label Warren a Native American, save her claim). The Boston Globe reports:
US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has said she was unaware that Harvard Law School had been promoting her purported Native American heritage until she read about it in a newspaper several weeks ago.
But for at least six straight years during Warren’s tenure, Harvard University reported in federally mandated diversity statistics that it had a Native American woman in its senior ranks at the law school. According to both Harvard officials and federal guidelines, those statistics are almost always based on the way employees describe themselves.
In addition, both Harvard’s guidelines and federal regulations for the statistics lay out a specific definition of Native American that Warren does not meet.
The documents suggest for the first time that either Warren or a Harvard administrator classified her repeatedly as Native American in papers prepared for the government in a way that apparently did not adhere to federal diversity guidelines. They raise further questions about Warren’s statements that she was unaware Harvard was promoting her as Native American. . . .
Warren, who has been dogged with questions about her ancestry since late April, was again grilled by reporters during a campaign stop in Brookline Thursday, but she refused to answer most of the queries, instead trying to shift the focus to Senator Scott Brown’s economic record.
The US Department of Labor requires large employers to collect diversity statistics annually and suggests they be based on employees’ classification of themselves. In cases in which employees do not self-identify, federal regulations allow some administrators to make judgment calls on the correct categories using “employment records or observer identification.’’