Harvard undergraduates are alleging that David D. Kane, Government preceptor and Government 50: “Data” instructor, authored racist posts over the course of several years under the pseudonym “David Dudley Field ’25” on his website EphBlog.
Some entries posted by “Field” on EphBlog make references to “Black Supremacy” in the NBA, claim that over 90 percent of Black students at Williams College would not have been admitted if it were not for their “Black’ness” [sic], and question Williams College’s condemnation of white supremacist group Identity Evropa without similar condemnation of the Black Lives Matter and Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movements.
“Field” authored a post on the blog in 2014 that was signed “David Kane ’88.” “David Dudley Field ’25” has been writing posts on EphBlog since 2003. Kane, a 1988 graduate of Williams College, founded EphBlog in 2003 for Williams affiliates, according to the website.
Kane did not respond to a request for comment from The Crimson asking whether he wrote the posts and for his response to the allegations.
Gov 50 student Alexis Queen ’23 confronted Kane about the posts, calling them endorsements of white supremacy and anti-Blackness in a Slack message to all course members Friday.
“I don’t feel comfortable being in a class on a Zoom call with somebody like that,” Queen said of Kane in an interview with The Crimson. “There’s a misconception that data and tech are objective, so you can’t be racist because you’re doing this coding,” she added. “And I think that’s just so fundamentally wrong.”
Kane denied endorsing white supremacy and anti-Blackness in a Friday response on the Slack channel obtained by The Crimson.
“I can assure you I do not endorse ‘white supremacy and anti-Blackness,’” Kane wrote. “Slack is probably not the best place for this conversation. I will send out some options to the whole class later today.”
After The Crimson reported that Kane invited Charles A. Murray ’65 to deliver a talk as part of the course, another student suggested that “Field” might be Kane, Queen said.
Murray — whose work the Southern Poverty Law Center has called “racist pseudoscience” — is scheduled to lecture on Oct. 16 regarding his 2020 book “Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class.” Murray’s book criticizes the ideas that gender and race are social constructs and that class is a function of privilege, arguing instead that groups of people differ genetically.
Kane defended his decision to invite Murray in a Tuesday email to The Crimson, writing that he finds it important for students to be exposed to more right-wing perspectives.
In a Friday evening email to Gov 50 students obtained by The Crimson, Kane wrote that students who were uncomfortable staying in his course would be able to transfer to Government 51: “Data Analysis and Politics,” which is taught by another instructor.
“Just a quick note that some students have expressed an interest in switching out of Gov 50,” he wrote. “No worries! My highest priority is the quality of your Harvard education. If you are no longer comfortable with me as your instructor, I would recommend switching into Gov 51: Data Analysis and Politics.”
In a joint Slack message, 22 out of the 27 members of Gov 50’s instructional staff, excluding Kane, lambasted the posts on EphBlog.
“We, in the strongest terms, condemn the material posted on that site,” the course staff wrote. “While we are currently unsure about Kane’s involvement in those posts, any amount is unacceptable. In light of this, there is no justification for Kane’s invitation of Charles Murray stemming from ‘academic discussion’ or ‘engagement.’”
“We would like to make explicit: we are with you in shock, disbelief, and disgust,” they added.
Course staff invited students to discuss the events on a Zoom call Friday night.
But many students in the class said they find the posts on EphBlog upsetting, and several undergraduate and graduate students took to social media to express their outrage regarding Kane, with some weighing the option of dropping the course entirely.
“I do think it is important to have multiple political ideologies represented in universities, but the sort of moral turpitude from that blog should not be tolerated in a faculty member at Harvard,” Gov 50 student Adam V. Aleksic ’23 said.
Kane closed his Friday message by inviting students interested in dropping the course to set up a Zoom call with him to discuss transferring to Gov 51.
As of late Friday night, the EphBlog website was in "maintenance mode."
—Staff writer Kevin R. Chen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @kchenx.
—Staff writer Natalie L. Kahn can be reached at email@example.com.