- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A group of Harvard Law School activists are demanding the graduate school do away with tuition fees, which they argue are “racially biased.”

Members of the group Reclaim Harvard Law School published an open letter Sunday addressed to Law School Dean Martha L. Minow and members of the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — demanding an end to tuition costs that they argue impose an unfair financial burden on students of color, The Harvard Crimson reported.

Tuition at the law school will rise to $59,550 for the 2016-2017 academic year, and students are graduating with an average of $149,754 in debt, according to the law school’s website. Reclaim Harvard Law called the trend “outrageous” and asserted, “as a matter of justice, education should be free.”

“The effects of HLS’ astronomical tuition fees are racially biased,” the group wrote in their letter. “Due to the legacy of centuries of white supremacy and plunder, people of color are less likely to have amassed wealth in the United States. Therefore, these fees disproportionately burden students of color, not only by creating a barrier to attending HLS, but also by constraining the career choices of those who do attend by saddling them with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. How can Harvard Law graduates be expected to advance justice or the well-being of society when they are forced to make career decisions based on paying off this burdensome debt?”

The group did not provide any proposals on how Harvard Law School could feasibly do away with tuition, saying, “answering this is the very job we are paying extraordinary amounts of money for them to do.”

“As with many of the school’s other policies and practices, the secrecy of the school has hamstrung discussion of how to make improvements,” the group wrote. “For this reason, we demand transparency — inform us how you are spending our money.

“Along with the elimination of tuition at HLS, we demand transparency in all the information related to the budget and the measures the administration is taking to end tuition,” the letter continued. “The information and plan of action should be clear and accessible to all current and prospective students. We, as concerned alumni and students, refuse to remain complicit in supporting a predatory student debt industry.”

Reclaim Harvard Law School claims to be comprised of hundreds of students and staff at Harvard Law School, “from various student organizations, affinity groups, and backgrounds, pushing for institutional change at Harvard Law School.” The free tuition demand is the cornerstone of the “Fees Must Fall” campaign launched several weeks ago during the Law School’s admitted students weekend, The Harvard Crimson reported.

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