July 19, 2024

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Harvard no longer takes positions on controversial issues

Harvard no longer takes positions on controversial issues

In a statement released Tuesday, American University decided not to show bias on issues unrelated to its teaching practice after an unprecedented pro-Palestinian rally on campus.

Harvard is refocusing on the heart of its mission: education. The prestigious American university announced its decision on May 28 not to take a stand on issues that do not directly concern its core activities. Guardian . In view of this new regulation, a task force comprising senior members of the University’s administration and teaching staff was formed.

A month after Hamas terror attacks on Israel, 34 university student unions signed a statement condemning “Apartheid Regime” Imposed by Israel on the Palestinians and bears full responsibility for Israel’s tragedy. Last January, Harvard Chancellor Claudine K He was forced to resign after accusations of plagiarism and his refusal to denounce growing anti-Semitic discourse at the university. Finally, three months later, students stormed the campus, calling for the severing of partnerships with institutions linked to Israel.

If the question of the war in Gaza played a role in Harvard’s decision, the administration notes that the problem is much older.

“A healthy and free exchange between diverse ideas”

In An interview was given to Harvard Gazette The university’s communication arm, the task force’s two co-directors, Alison Simmons and Noah Feldman, have been charged with complaints made by members of Harvard and a poor climate governing within the university. “We’ve heard from many people who feel obligated to speak for Harvard, even if they don’t want to.” Alison Simmons explains.

“We also received a lot of feedback about how corporate and individual statements are picked up by the media, including social media.” Noah Feldman adds. “In this age of networks, it’s easy for the public to think that anyone who appears in a Harvard sweatshirt is speaking ‘on behalf’ of the university. This is not the case! We must be clear, He concludes.

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Partly inspired by this testimony, these new rules proposed by the task force were readily accepted by the Harvard administration. In a statement published on its website, the university reaffirms its primary mission: “CCreate an environment in which healthy, productive and free exchange of ideas and arguments can take place between different perspectives in science, society, values, culture etc..

Reviews and support

Many accuse the United States of being neutral in the context of the conflict in Gaza, even though it is financially invested in Gaza, both in academia and in the paramilitary world. For example, Eric Reinhardt, a doctoral student and clinical psychologist at Harvard, devalues ​​Harvard’s financial investments in its new rules. “Harvard is politically neutral, he wrote in a tweet, It invests heavily in arms production and pursues its numerous contracts with Israel and the US military.. And to emphasize: “Neutrality and corporate responsibility are pretty convenient if you ask me”.

Others, on the other hand, argue that freedom of expression must be protected to protect the university. Association fire(Foundation for Personal Rights and Expression, “Foundation for Rights and Personal Expression”, in French) Harvard reacts to announcements “Strong Consent” On that day, and recalls the previous year’s support for the University of Chicago, which had pioneered the same approach. Indeed, Harvard is not the first American university to adopt a policy of neutrality for its speech engagement. Before him, the University of Chicago but also Columbia affirmed their neutrality, and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Yale are now considering doing the same.

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