The Boston Globe does an exhaustive review of Harvard University's push for diversity in the 90's, with special emphasis on Elizabeth Warren's place in that push. As the only Native American female on the law school faculty and the faculty of the entire school, she was quite a catch, as the Harvard Federal filings made clear:
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.
Ms. Warren has insisted that the topic of her prized ethnicity never cme up in job interviews. So how, one wonders, did Harvard ever discover her non-secret?
The answer is in Harvard's 1999 Affirmative Action plan (291 page .pdf) dredged up by the Globe. Here is the law school desription of their approach to identifying minority candidates for recruitment (p. 110, my emphasis):
In furtherance of its commitment to increasing the diversity of the Faculty, the School has, for many years, acted in the following ways:
• Faculty Solicitation....
• Canvass of HLS Honors Graduates. ...
• Recruitment of Non-Harvard Scholars. Members of the appointments committees monitor faculty composition at leading law schools around the country to identify and solicit the candidacies of promising scholars. In 1996, the Lateral Appointments Committee began to identify professors who have recently received tenure at major law schools for possible recruitment as tenured faculty or visiting professors. The Entry Level Appointments Committee targets promising women and minority candidates, among others, through an exchange of information with their counterparts at other leading law schools.
• Participation in the AALS Annual Meeting. The American Association of Law Schools (AALS) holds an annual conference where teaching candidates are interviewed by interested law schools. The Law School regularly sends two members of the Entry Level Appointments Committee to interview approximately 20-24 job-seekers, who have been selected in advance for their scholarly promise and fit with the existing and anticipated needs of the School. After the AALS interviews, the most attractive candidates are invited back to make mini-presentations to the appointments committee and, if successful in that forum, the full Faculty. At each step in this process, the appointments committee gives weight to the affirmative action goals of the School in determining the relative strength of a particular candidate. Promising women and minority applicants are identified at the outset, and tracked in their progress from application through interview, mini-presentation, and Faculty presentation.
In short, they were actively looking for minority candidates and (utterly unsurprisingly) used the AALS as a key resource. Which strongly suggests they used her minority listing in the AALS to find Elizabeth Warren, even if she never realized that recruiters at other schools did that sort of thing (as if).
TALKING IT OVER: We can hear from Jane here.