Harvard Forward Unveils Second Overseer Slate
No sooner has one hard-fought, protracted election campaign ended than a new one begins. No, not Trump vs. Biden. Rather, Harvard Forward has unveiled its second slate of candidates who will petition for nomination to be elected to Harvard’s Board of Overseers during next spring’s balloting. In the wake of its success in electing three candidates to the board last summer (during balloting delayed by the pandemic)—after campaigning on a platform of divestment of fossil-fuel endowment assets and overhauling investment policy, governance reform, and other priorities—Harvard Forward has announced three new petition candidates:
- Yvette Efevbera, of Seattle, who earned master’s and doctoral degrees in public health and is an adviser on gender-based violence and child marriage and gender equality at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Megan Red Shirt-Shaw, who earned a master's degree from the Graduate School of Education and is director of native student services at the University of South Dakota.
- Natalie Unterstell, of Rio de Janeiro, who earned an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School and works on Brazilian climate policy.
The Harvard Forward website describes the candidates as advocating a platform based on the 2020 effort, with “detailed and actionable policy proposals for each of our priorities” to follow.
There are three petition aspirants this year, rather than a full slate of five, because under the new rules governing the compositon of the Board of Overseers enacted this fall, no more than six individuals nominated by petition and duly elected may serve on the 30-member board at any one time.
The Harvard Alumni Association nominating committee typically unveils its slate of candidates in early winter. Because the petitioners must seek signatures to qualify for the ballot, Harvard Forward has to advance its slate earlier, which may give the HAA committee an opportunity to build a slate of candidates who both fill perceived substantive and other needs on the Board of Overseers, and match up well against the qualifications and experiences the Harvard Forward petitioners present. Interestingly, in the voting for Overseers and HAA elected directors conducted last summer—in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and the upwelling of protests over racial injustice—candidates of color performed very strongly. Harvard Forward’s slate of diverse women with experiences across three service-oriented professional schools may map well onto the priorities its volunteers and supporters articulated during last year’s campaign.