After interviewing former Harvard Dean Harry Lewis, here is what reporter Emily Heffter chose to print in the Seattle Times:
Harry Lewis, a Harvard computer science professor and former dean of the school, confirmed that Burner did study economics at Harvard.
“She doesn’t have a degree in economics,” he said. “It’s a specialty within the computer science degree that she has.”
And here is Dean Lewis in his own unexpurgated words (the emphasis is mine):
I’m the professor and ex-dean who was quoted in the story, and as it happens, also the guy who wrote the CS degree requirements. At the time Darcy was at Harvard, she would have needed, as part of her CS degree requirements, several courses in a technical specialization area related to CS. She fulfilled that CS degree requirement by specializing in Economics (which meant, by the way, that she couldn’t have taken just the easy, non-mathematical Ec courses). So it’s not exactly a minor (which we didn’t have then, though we do now), and it’s also not anything that the registrar would be able to certify (because it’s an internal requirement of the computer science faculty). But it’s something everyone getting a degree in CS had to do (though other students would have other specialties). The way Darcy is describing herself is accurate.
And here is Dean Lewis’ account of his interview with Heffter:
Talked to her and told her you had a degree in CS with a specialization in Ec. She said you were claiming to have a degree in Ec and I just repeated myself. She asked me what that consisted of and I said a block of Ec courses. She started to ask me if that would make you qualified … and I cut her off, saying I couldn’t judge economics qualifications. She thanked me and said that was helpful.
Darcy Burner does indeed have a degree from Harvard in computer science and economics, and it is utterly outrageous that the Times would choose to turn the NRCC’s parsing of the word “and” into a front page gotcha story defaming Darcy’s character.
They owe her an apology.