Harvard To Scrub ‘Puritans’ Reference From Alma Mater Lyrics

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/07/12/harvard-to-scrub-puritans-reference-from-alma-mater-tune/

CAMBRIDGE — America’s most elite private university has taken another great leap forward, as Harvard University is now closer to its apparent goal of dropping all references to Puritans in its alma mater song “Fair Harvard.”

Per the President’s Inclusion and Belonging Task Force:

“Written in 1836, the alma mater ends with the line, ‘Till the stock of the Puritans die.’ The song was revised in 1998 to make the lyrics more gender-inclusive, but they left the final line as it was. We think it’s time for a change.”

Harvard is busy soliciting verse suggestions from its community of current students, faculty, and graduates. The task force claims, however, that “contrary to media reports, Harvard does not wish to write Puritans out of its history.”

The final verse currently features the words:

Let not moss-covered Error moor thee at its side,

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.

The task force, in the frequently-asked-questions section of its website, has determined that the conclusion of the song “suggests that the commitment to truth, and to being the bearer of its light, is the special province of those of Puritan stock.”

“This is false,” the task force concluded. “We therefore launch this competition in the interests of truth itself.

“We launch it also in order to affirm that Harvard’s motto, Veritas, speaks to and on behalf of all members of our community, regardless of background, identity, religious affiliation, or viewpoint.”

The task force, in addition to soliciting replacement lines intended to scrub the final verse from history, is also asking members of the campus community to submit new musical variants or performance modes for the song.

“The traditional music (which comes from an Irish folk song) would remain the official music of the alma mater, but the competition-winning variant would henceforth be preserved by the University as an endorsed alternative mode of performance,” the task force states on its website. “Think of this as an opportunity to help expand the University’s symbolic repertoire.”

The inspiration behind this move, apparently, is the Broadway musical Hamilton.

“All genres and performance modes are welcome (choral, spoken word, electronic, hip-hop, etc.). The goal is to affirm what is valuable from the past while also re-inventing that past to meet and speak to the present moment. The inspiration is Hamilton. The point is to use your imagination.”

Not all faculty members at Harvard agree with the need to change the final verse. Professor Harvey Mansfield, who teaches government, described the matter as a “gross instance of political correctness” in an email message to the right-of-center college news website The Campus Fix.

Mansfield, who has taught at Harvard since 1962, told the website that efforts to be more inclusive are actually having an opposite effect in “seeking as it does to deny Harvard’s origin.”

He described Harvard as “America’s trendiest university” and ripped the move to change the alma mater song, calling it a capitulation “to groups who want to use the university to gain their own political ends and who do not understand or care for the search for truth regardless of party.”

The deadline for text submissions is September 15.