You won’t find it on her website, where the “News and Events” section hasn’t been updated since December 2008. (What’s up with that? Tech guy get laid off?)
But Drew Faust recently wrote a letter to Ted Kennedy endorsing legislation called the Dream Act—or, as Faust calls it, the DREAM act—which would facilitate citizenship for alien minors enrolled in school.
I happened to come across the letter, which isn’t that easy to do, since Faust doesn’t seem to want anyone to know that she’s supporting the legislation. (She’s never spoken to the press about it, it’s not on her website, etc.)
It’s a small thing, perhaps, but Faust really needs either to write this stuff herself or find a new ghostwriter. Because like the abysmal op-ed ghostwritten for Mike Smith, Allan Brandt and Evelynn Hammonds, it’s atrociously written and may have at least one embarrassing mistake.
Here’s the text [badly written parts in bold]:
The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy
317 Russel Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Kennedy:
I am writing to share with you my strong support for S. 729, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, and to thank you for your co-sponsorship and efforts on behalf of this vitally important legislation.
At Harvard, we have dedicated substantial attention and resources to improve access to higher education–certainly with our own financial aid initiatives for students at Harvard College, but also in our local communities with efforts to support talented students in Boston and Cambridge schools who are seeking higher education. We find that students are working hard, taking high level classes [Blogger: "high-level," actually], serving in their communities, and dedicating themselves to their dreams of higher education and to fulfilling the promise of their future. For many, it is not easy with family challenges, under-resourced secondary schools, economic pressures, and myriad other issues, including, for a few, immigration status issues.
[Blogger: Indeed! For many, it is not easy with family challenges. Also, can we ban the pseudo-word "under-resourced"? Also: What a wonderful euphemism, "immigration status issues."]
The DREAM Act would throw a lifeline to these students who are already working hard in our middle and high schools and living in our communities by granting them the temporary legal status that would allow them to pursue postsecondary education. I believe it is in our best interest to educate all students to their full potential–it vastly improves their lives and grows our communities and economy. This bill will help move us closer to this goal.
I greatly appreciate your leadership on this legislation.
Drew Gilpin Faust
Actually, pretty much the whole thing is dreary—the cautious, earnest, generic diction of a ghostwriter, rather than the distinctive voice of a real human being, much less the leader of one of the world’s most important universities.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think the written word is important. Every document with Drew Faust’s signature on it—regardless of whether she wrote it or not—should be well-written. And frankly, I feel like I’m being lenient here by not pointing out that it’s lame that the president of Harvard has a ghostwriter. (Talk about a good candidate for budget cuts.)
Now…did anyone spot the possible embarrassing mistake?
Check out the address…..
To be scrupulously fair, the actual document may be correct, since I’m not sure that the letter I linked to is exactly transcribed; it seems to be, but I can’t say exactly because the letter was never released publicly. [If Mass Hall released it now, the boo-boo would surely be fixed.]
Anyway, what does a little misspelling of a Senate leader’s name matter?
Just because you’re the president of Harvard doesn’t mean speling is important.