Even going as far as to say Warren’s description of her ethnicity was the reason Harvard listed her as a Native American faculty member.

(Boston Globe) — 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.

The documents suggest for the first time that either Warren or a Harvard administrator classified her repeatedly as Native American in papers prepared for the government in a way that apparently did not adhere to federal diversity guidelines. They raise further questions about Warren’s statements that she was unaware Harvard was promoting her as Native American.

The Warren campaign declined Thursday to answer the Globe’s specific questions about the documents. In a statement, Warren’s spokeswoman, Alethea Harney, said that “over the past month Elizabeth has answered countless questions openly while the people who recruited her have made it clear it was because of her extraordinary skill as a teacher and a groundbreaking scholar.’’ [...]

The administrator responsible for Harvard Law School’s faculty diversity statistics from 1996 to 2004, the period in question, was Alan Ray, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation who, like Warren, has fair skin, blue eyes, and Oklahoma roots.

But Ray, now president of Elmhurst College in Illinois, said in a statement that he “did not encourage the Law School to list any faculty member as one particular race or ethnicity, including Professor Warren.’’ He further said through a spokeswoman that he “never encouraged any faculty member to list himself or herself in a particular way.’’ Ray added that Harvard “always accepted whatever identification a faculty member wanted to provide,’’ a characterization another highly placed former Harvard administrator backed up.

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