The conservative American Enterprise Institute is keeping its distance from the controversy over Jason Richwine’s Harvard dissertation, which claims that Hispanics are genetically predisposed to have lower IQs than white people, even though Richwine was a fellow at AEI while working on the dissertation.
Richwine, a co-author of the Heritage Foundation’s study claiming that comprehensive immigration reform will cost the United States trillions of dollars, came under fire Wednesday for arguing in the dissertation that the United States should screen immigrants to the country based on their IQs as a way to keep Hispanics out. (The dissertation was first noted by the Washington Post.)
“AEI doesn’t have official positions on issues—our institutional position is that we don’t take institutional positions—so there’s no statement from the organization,” an AEI official told TPM.
When pressed on the fact that AEI must have known the subject of the dissertation when they offered Richwine his fellowship, the official responded in an email:
He came recommended by an elite institution and proposed to study immigration for his HKS dissertation. He received a 2 year non-renewable fellowship. After completing the fellowship and receiving his PhD, he began his public policy career in DC.
The official then added that the fellowship had actually lasted a year and a half.
In the acknowledgement section of his dissertation, Richwine wrote, “I am indebted to the American Enterprise Institute for its generous support, without which this dissertation could not have been completed. In particular, I must thank Henry Olsen, vice president of AEI’s National Research Initiative, for bringing me to AEI and supporting my research.”
Richwine also thanked AEI scholar Charles Murray for his input, writing that “I could not have asked for a better primary advisor.”
A spokesman for the Heritage Foundation, which hired Richwine after he completed his thesis according to his Heritage bio page, did not respond to a request for comment on how acquainted Heritage was with the thesis when they hired Richwine. Since Richwine’s thesis has made headlines in the last two days, the Heritage Foundation has largely distanced itself from it.
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