Harvard Sticks It To Puritans, History, Conservatives in Quest for ‘Diversity’
By Kelly Thomas | April 11, 2017, 13:02 EDT
CAMBRIDGE – Last week, Harvard announced forthcoming changes to the University’s nearly two centuries-old anthem, and not all of its students are pleased with the suggested amendments.
At a three-hour event last week hosted by Harvard’s Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging, Government Professor Danielle S. Allen, the task force’s co-chairman, informed students that there would be a competition held to replace the final line of “Fair Harvard,” which currently includes a mention of the Puritans, a nod of acknowledgement to the founding sect of the University.
In her opening remarks of the event, titled “Afternoon of Engagement on Inclusion and Belonging,” Harvard president Drew G. Faust said: “Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are fundamental to our missions and to our identity and essential for creating a better university, and the responsibility for that is one shared by students, faculty, and staff.”
But for junior Emily Hall, a contributor to campusreform.org and founder of Harvard’s chapter of the Network of Enlightened Women, the task force’s decision to change the song’s lyrics represents yet another way conservative students are being pushed out of the conversations on campus in favor of displays of diversity and inclusion. The irony being, as she pointed out in an interview on Fox News, that in the name of inclusion, students and professors of a more traditional bent are being increasingly excluded. At this point, Hall lamented, students like her who want to honor the intellectual history and tradition of Harvard are being silenced, and there is no room for their voices on campus, to the detriment of the university.
Harvard, which was founded by the Puritans in the 17th century, originally as a school to train ministers, proudly bears the motto “Veritas,” meaning “truth.”
As a nod to the university’s pursuit of Truth, the final lines of the anthem currently read:
“ As the world on Truth’s current glides by
Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love.
Till the stock of the Puritans die”
Task force members believe that it is no longer fitting to contain this acknowledgement of Harvard’s historical and religious roots in relation to its motto. “There shouldn’t be any endpoint to the pursuit of truth, nor should we imply that the pursuit of truth is for any particular ethnic group,” Allen said in a statement.
Stephen Burt, an English professor who will be helping judge submissions in the lyric contest, suggested in a recent New York Times article that the mention of Harvard’s founders could be “complicit with racism.”
Kent Haeffner, the President of Harvard’s Republican Club, expressed his disappointment in the task force’s decision, disagreed with Burt, saying that “[The line] pays homage to the history of the university, and so to be spending time on this when there are more important issues to handle in the university is a sign of priorities being in the wrong place.”