Harvard’s Level of Tolerance–Lower Than You Think

We missed this unusual column when it appeared in the Harvard Crimson two weeks ago, but it’s worthy of comment even at this late date. It begins with Olympia Snow’s complaint that the Senate is not a place “that ensures all voices are heard and considered,” then moves swiftly to argue that Harvard isn’t such a place either. Student columnist Derek J. Bekebrede points out that posters from the Harvard Republican Club, Harvard Right to Life and True Love Revolution have been torn down recently and not for the first time: “The vast majority of all three groups’ posters are consistently torn down within hours of being put up. HRL’s “Cemetery of the Unborn” display outside of the Science Center was even vandalized in 2008. One instance of missing posters could possibly be explained by other, non-malicious factors, but multiple years of vandalism against Harvard’s three main conservative groups cannot.”

Beckebrede, who likely can expect his dose of intolerance for writing about Harvard’s, reports hostility to ROTC students–no surprise there–but he also mentions faculty advisors who advise their students not to take courses taught by conservative professors, which is a bit unexpected. Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust is probably working on an all-points bulletin encouraging her community to be more tolerant and openminded, but we admit some room for doubt here.

John Leo

John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

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