Harvard Economist's Revelations Shake Foundations: Did His Findings Cost Him His Career?

By Tommy Wilson | Monday, 19 February 2024 01:00 AM
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In a candid interview with The Free Press's Bari Weiss, Harvard economics professor Roland Fryer revealed the turmoil that ensued following the publication of his 2016 study on police shootings in Houston.

The study, which found no racial bias in the incidents, sparked a wave of controversy and backlash. "All hell broke loose," Fryer admitted, adding that people "lost their minds" in response to his findings.

Fryer shared that his colleagues had pleaded with him not to publish the study, fearing it would jeopardize his career. "I had colleagues take me to the side and say, 'Don't publish this. You'll ruin your career,'" he recounted.

The backlash escalated to the point where Fryer had to enlist armed guards for his and his family's protection for over a month. "I was going to the grocery store to get diapers with the armed guard. It was crazy. It was really, truly crazy," he told Weiss.

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As reported by Fox News, Fryer's study of the Houston police department revealed that police were 23.8 percent less likely to shoot black suspects and 8.5 percent less likely to shoot Hispanic suspects compared to white suspects. However, the study also found that police were more likely to employ nonfatal physical force against these groups.

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Fryer explained that the results were so unexpected that he hired eight new assistants to verify them, only to find the results consistent.

The controversy surrounding Fryer continued in 2019 when former Harvard dean Claudine Gay, now disgraced, suspended him for two years following allegations of "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature." Gay argued that Fryer's research and conduct demonstrated a "pattern of behavior" that fell short of Harvard's standards.

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When Weiss asked Fryer about his thoughts on Gay, he responded cryptically, saying he hears karma is "a motherf*cker."

The Free Press notes that Fryer, the author of over 50 papers, is the youngest black tenured professor in Harvard's history. His accolades include the MacArthur Genius Fellowship and the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to an economist under 40 who has made significant contributions to economic thought and knowledge.

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