Author C.J. Farley on secret societies, elitism and the myth of meritocracy at Harvard

Farley's experience with inequality and competition at Harvard inspired his new book, Around Harvard Square. Amid the recent college admissions scandal, he talks about who really deserves a spot in elite academic institutions.
C.J. Farley's new book, Around Harvard Square, is out now. (Kate Simon)

The Harvard Lampoon isn't your typical college humour magazine — and not just because it's the oldest continuously published college humour magazine in the world. It's where writers of hit TV shows like The Simpsons, 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt found their start amongst a crew of other Ivy League misfits. 

Writer C.J. Farley was the Harvard Lampoon's editor in the the early '90s. His experience with inequality and competition at the university inspired his new book Around Harvard Square.

Amid the recent college admissions scandal that's rocked North America, Farley joined q's Tom Power for a conversation about who really belongs in elite academic institutions like his alma mater. 

"Harvard has always done things to exclude certain groups of people," said Farley. "Over the years, there've been barriers to keep out black people, to keep the number of Asian students down — they're always adjusting the formula [and] it's never really about pure merit."

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full interview.

— Produced by Chris Trowbridge

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