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Group Urging Free Tuition at Harvard Fails to Win Seats on Board

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A rebellious slate of candidates who this year upset the normally placid balloting for the Board of Overseers at Harvard has failed to secure positions on the board, which helps set strategy for the university.

Calling itself Free Harvard, Fair Harvard, the group ran on a proposal that Harvard should be free to all undergraduates because the university earns so much money from its $37.6 billion endowment. It tied the notion to another, equally provocative question: Does Harvard shortchange Asian-Americans in admissions?

The outsider slate, which was formed in January, proposed five candidates against a slate of eight candidates officially nominated by the Harvard Alumni Association. After 35,870 alumni votes were counted, five winners were announced from the alumni group on Monday.

The votes garnered by each candidate were not announced, so it was unclear how close the outsider slate had come.

Expressing displeasure at the group’s defeat, Ron Unz, a conservative California software entrepreneur who formed the slate, nevertheless said it had achieved part of its mission.

“I do think we certainly got a lot of media coverage and focus out there about the absurd, disproportionate size of Harvard’s investment income compared to their annual tuition, and it could be that will start more pressure on the issue going forward,” he said.

 
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