Harvey Silvergate

After Awful Tragedies,
The Campus Bureaucracy Expands

The Boston Herald is a scrappy, politically conservative tabloid that normally rants and rails against excessive regulations and good-for-nothing government bureaucrats. Yet in an editorial on the Penn State child molestations, titled “Keeping campuses safe,” the Herald called for a heavily expanded bureaucratic response. It excoriated “the football program staff” of Penn State who, quoting […]

Read More

Harvard’s PR Machine and the Cherokees

Seemingly lily-white Elizabeth Warren’s supposed claim of Cherokee heritage may make for good campaign fodder–incumbent Senator Scott Brown has gone so far as to demand that Warren apologize for allowing Harvard to claim her as a minority–but the real lesson in this latest of partisan battles has more to do with university rather than electoral […]

Read More

Uh-oh, Students Are Starting to Talk Like Administrators

This is an excerpt from the Q&A following talks March 28 by KC Johnson and Harvey Silverglate on campus “Kangaroo Courts” that fit no concept of the fairness or justice valued in the rest of America. Here Harvey Silverglate expresses concern that students are beginning to imbibe “the utter, arrant nonsense” of their campus prosecutors. […]

Read More

Misconduct Hearings on Campus Are Rotten and Have to Change

This is the text of a speech given March 28, 2012 at a Manhattan Institute luncheon in New York City.                                                                       *** I began representing students in 1969. A group of Harvard students took over University Hall in an anti-Vietnam War protest. There was a lot of violence, President Pusey called in the police, and […]

Read More

‘Feelings’ as the Measure of Student Misconduct

Two of our best writers here at Minding the Campus, KC Johnson and Harvey Silverglate, spoke quite brilliantly at a Manhattan Institute luncheon last Wednesday on “Kangaroo Courts: Yale, Duke and Student Rights.” It is, in our opinion, the best possible short course for understanding the star-chamber proceedings that students face these days at campuses […]

Read More

Students’ Sexuality is Their Own Business

According to various reports, UCLA may ask incoming students about their sexual orientation. Such a development would make it the second school in the nation to do so–Elmhurst College in Illinois became the first last fall. The disclosure would be voluntary, and would have no bearing on admissions. As Matt Comer, a spokesperson for the […]

Read More

The Amazing, Shrinking Academic Year

When I read this article in today’s Harvard Crimson, asking for a shorter school year, I couldn’t figure out if it was a parody. At first I laughed, but then it occurred to me that the Crimson editorialists are likely serious. I would love to see a comparison done of the length of the academic […]

Read More

Will Harvard Stop Trying to Impose Orthodoxies?

Although our beleaguered universities continue their seemingly inexorable march from being institutions of higher education to resembling, more and more, political and social re-education camps for the young, every now and then the students demonstrate that they remain well ahead of campus administrations and faculties when it comes to appreciating the true role of our […]

Read More

Harvard Pressures Freshmen to Sign a Moral Pledge

Harvard College’s Class of 2015 found something unprecedented awaiting their arrival on campus: an ideological pledge. It was framed as a request for allegiance to certain social and political principles. No such request had been made of Harvard students since the college’s founding by Puritans in 1636. First-years are being pressured to sign a “Freshman […]

Read More

What Yale’s President Should Have Said about the Frat Boys

By Harvey Silverglate and Kyle Smeallie The Department of Education is currently investigating Yale University for allegedly maintaining a sexually hostile environment. No one can deny that the New Haven Ivy is in a difficult position. To wit, Yale enacted changes last month to lower the standard of proof in sexual assault cases, and last week, College Dean Mary Miller announced that a fraternity would be banned for […]

Read More

What Characterizes the Modern Totalitarian, Corporatized University?

In Savannah, Georgia, an ambitious experiment in higher education is under way. Ralston College aims to offer a back-to-basics liberal arts experience , stripped of the amenities and assumptions of the modern university. Though just now getting off the ground–it has yet to accept student applications–its stated mission is clear. Students will experience rigorous coursework […]

Read More

Eliminating Free Thoughts in the Name of False Safety

What does it mean to be safe on campus? The word is so often invoked—creating “safe zones” or maintaining a “safe environment”—that it has arguably become meaningless. Perhaps more accurately, it has taken on a second meaning, specific to the university. Whereas the real-world definition refers essentially to one’s physical well-being, in the campus context […]

Read More

Criminal, Not Hurtful

Our good friend Harvey Silverglate, co-founder of FIRE and co-author of The Shadow University, just sent a brief protest—more like a bellow—in reaction to the New York Times’s handling of the Rutgers story. A front-page Times report today said it was “hurtful” for the two Rutgers students to videotape a gay sex act by another […]

Read More

How Corrupted Language Moved from Campus to the Real World

In some quarters I’m viewed as a lawyer with a professional identity problem: I’ve spent half of my time representing students and professors struggling with administrators over issues like free speech, academic freedom, due process and fair disciplinary procedures. The other half I’ve spent representing individuals (and on occasion organizations and companies) in the criminal […]

Read More

The Cambridge Empire Strikes Back

By Harvey Silverglate With Kyle Smeallie Harvard University may be losing money like a hard-luck high-roller, but the Vegas tagline (what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas) certainly does not apply: what happens at Harvard reaches well beyond the Cambridge confines. For better or for worse, many schools follow in Harvard’s footsteps. What better place, […]

Read More

Be Fair, Harvard

In theory, e-mail should make it easier to organize for social and political change. But, as recent events in my campaign as a petition candidate for Harvard’s Board of Overseers have shown, new means of communication can be used to relegate would-be reformers of the academy to dead-ends, and to keep the outsiders outside. If […]

Read More

A Candidate Worth A Vote

The inestimable Harvey Silverglate has launched a candidacy for Harvard’s Board of Overseers, and quickly, the relevance of his effort is being noted. The student-run Harvard Law Record is scaling back its publication schedule in the face of several difficulties, notable among them being Harvard’s reduction of alumni distribution. As they write: [T]he replacement of […]

Read More

Attacking Larry Summers Again

On Forbes.com today, Harvey Silverglate responds to a New York Times blogpost by Stanley Fish on Lawrence Summers, who may be president-elect Obama’s choice for secretary of the treasury. (We asked Silverglate to write it for us, but Forbes beat us by half an hour.) Silverglate did not much like Fish’s article, and we found […]

Read More