Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Obama: A Favorite of Academe Who Once Led Harvard Through a Racial Storm

One of the early tests of Barack Obama’s political skills came when he was a law student at Harvard University in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In the midst of intense campus debates over faculty diversity and other divisive issues, Mr. Obama became the first black student to be elected president of the Harvard Law Review. At the law journal, he presided over difficult discussions among intellectuals with widely different views. Yet his professors say he was able to set an amicable tone and, at the same time, hold fast to his own beliefs.

In the fourth of The Chronicle's series of profiles of the leading candidates for president, we take a look at how Mr. Obama has won the favor of many in academe and the kind of “professorial president” he might make if he were elected.

On our Campaign U. blog we have also published the full transcript of a Q&A we conducted via email with Mr. Obama's campaign. In it, he discusses his views and positions on various higher-education topics, including affirmative action, the federal government's role in reining in college costs, and the importance of education in preparing working families for a global economy.

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