University President Drew G. Faust defended the role of the conservative on Harvard's campus during her appearance on "The Colbert Report" Monday evening.
Stephen T. Colbert accused Faust of being "one of those smart people who Rick Santorum says that the GOP's never going to attract." He then asked, "Why are you so prejudiced against people who do not value education?"
"We see Harvard as a place for education for people who are conservative, people who are liberal, and everybody in between," said Faust, prompting Colbert to ask if Harvard was also "for dumb people." "It's never dumb to get an education," Faust said. "So you're prejudiced against dumb people," Colbert retorted in response to her diplomatic answer. "It's good to know."
Following the humorous banter at the beginning, the interview took a largely serious tone. Faust was on the show promoting "Death and the Civil War," a PBS documentary by renowned filmmaker Ric Burns based on her book entitled "The Republic of Suffering."
The typically comedic Colbert asked questions that led to a generally humorless conversation on the somber subject of the documentary—the impact of the Civil War's unprecedented casualty count on the American people.
"The Civil War brings to the American people a level of death that is unprecedented—that is unlike anything they anticipated or had experienced before," Faust said.
In conclusion to these sobering comments, Colbert added the following thought: "I think this is a fantastic documentary, this sounds like a fascinating book, but you're beginning to make the civil war sound like a downer."
Absent from the five minute conversation were questions about the controversy surrounding alleged cheating at Harvard, a thread which has consumed national media coverage of the University since the story broke at the beginning of the semester.
Her appearance on "The Colbert Report" was one of Faust's final stops on her speaking tour to promote the documentary and her book. "Death and the Civil War" airs on PBS tonight at 8 p.m.