After Harsh Criticism, Harvard Says It Will Refrain From Statements On Foreign, Domestic Policy

Harvard University, which has embroiled itself in controversy with 122 faculty members saying that criticizing the deadly phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine must be free” is “imprudent” and a former president who refused to condemn anti-Semitic protests and calls for the genocide of Jews, has now decided the university “should not, however, issue official statements about public matters that do not directly affect the university’s core function.”

In April, interim President Alan M. Garber and interim Provost John F. Manning announced the formation of the Institutional Voice Working Group to decide when Harvard as a university “should speak on matters of social and political significance and who should be authorized to speak for the institution as a whole,” the Harvard Gazette reported.

The group was co-chaired by Noah Feldman, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and Alison Simmons, the Samuel H. Wolcott Professor of Philosophy.

“The main point of the report is that the University’s leadership can and should speak out on anything relevant to the core function of the University, which is creating an environment suitable for free, open inquiry, teaching, and research,” Feldman stated. “That environment is threatened these days, and we need to defend it. At the same time, the University as an institution should not make official statements on issues outside its core function. Harvard isn’t a government. It shouldn’t have a foreign policy or a domestic policy.”

In January, Claudine Gay, the first black president in Harvard’s history, resigned after plagiarism allegations against her, her initial silence when 34 student groups blamed the October 7 Hamas massacre of over 1,200 Israelis solely on Israel, and her reluctance to condemn anti-Semitism when she testified before Congress. She also reportedly put together a task force after the death of George Floyd, with its stated goal being to diminish the number of white men who were visible in campus spaces.

When the furor over Gay broke, eleven of the twelve members of the Harvard Corporation stood by her, writing, “As members of the Harvard Corporation, we today reaffirm our support for President Gay’s continued leadership of Harvard University. Our extensive deliberations affirm our confidence that President Gay is the right leader to help our community heal and to address the very serious societal issues we are facing.”

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.