The flashbulb issues that students at Harvard have been rallying around, including immigration and affirmative action, coincide neatly with the tide of opinions growing more popular among young people across the nation. More than 100 days into the Biden presidency — and, insanely, more than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic — there have been double-digit expansions in support for “progressive” ideas among young people (or what the survey labels as such, anyway). And, if you sift through the shift in America’s ideological landscape, a swell of hope jumps out.
This case is a shining example of the power of the Law School’s clinics and student-driven efforts. It proves, pretty decisively, that our education — at the Law School, and perhaps the College — doesn’t have to remain untethered from the world around us; it exemplifies the virtues of showing students the pathway to future careers in meaningful, but frequently less remunerative, fields.
Ultimately, every opinion piece will be driven by some level of personal bias – and even when newspaper boards are maximally vigilant in their efforts to scrub their pages of it, some biases that ought to be announced will inevitably fly under the radar. Against this backdrop, just as editors need to be diligent about conveying who exactly opinion contributors are, we as readers must understand that no single opinion piece should be treated as the end-all-be-all as we form and fortify our own opinions.
Epstein’s ability to influence our university even after he was no longer a direct donor — hosting faculty at his controversial private island, securing a campus office and shoutout on the Harvard domain, securing donations for his preferred academics — speaks to the influence money can have even when it’s not directly changing pockets. It proves that our gift policies must be prepared to wrestle with the corrupting influence of immense wealth, and become solid enough to resist affiliates liable to be seduced by a quick, dirty buck.
At present, the IOP’s rousing vision is in danger. In fact, the IOP’s current state of disregard for student concerns and internal squabbling for the reigns of power is entirely antithetical to its founding mission. Until these issues are grappled with, the IOP will remain an ironic masterclass for the worst of government, not the best.
The University has a significant role to play in education; not only does Harvard educate its own, but it also produces many academics who go on to create the works from which later generations learn. Against this backdrop, Harvard must ensure that its students do not walk forward with institutional racism built into their backbones.
But despite our emphasis on the numbers, these accepted students are far from just statistics — they are our future classmates, neighbors, and friends who will come to define post-Zoom Harvard. They are the students who we will welcome into our communities next Housing Day and who will, a year later, welcome an entirely new class themselves. We are excited to discover their passions and talents, quirks and idiosyncrasies, and to see them explore and bring to life our little Cambridge corner. To the newly admitted Class of 2025, welcome to Harvard — we are so happy to have you.
Harvard, which prides itself as the place where America’s future leaders are created, should allow its affiliates to tangibly partake in democracy without having to balance University-related obligations for one, crucial day. Engaging in civic and community action is important, and breaking from the Harvard bubble to serve communities in Cambridge and Boston is valuable. The Democracy Day proposal, which students have put thought and labor into crafting, facilitates both. All Harvard has to do is say yes.
We urge our peers and Cambridge neighbors in pursuit of vaccinations to carefully research the communities that they are entering; to vigilantly consider whose vaccine slots they may be taking up; and, most profoundly, to be mindful in their actions, understanding that vaccine retrieval — while broadly beneficial — can have countervailing effects if not pursued responsibly.
Our university’s history is more than top-notch research, billionaire dropouts, and obscenely wealthy donors. The terror endured by Black students at Harvard — the emotional scars Harvard Klansmen and their flaming cross made — shouldn’t be forgotten. Its inclusion within our broader historical record might be embarrassing or disturbing, and rightly so. But it will also offer a fuller, more truthful account of what campus was truly like; one that allows students to place themselves within a nuanced and expansive continuum. A true history of our complex past — including the good, the bad, and the depressingly ugly — urgently needs writing.
One thing, however, is clear: Harvard should not simply “move on” from the pandemic. Instead, we urge the College to interrogate what has worked well over the past year and to augment campus life with these new conventions moving forward. We hope that the College champions the best of the pandemic, while doing away with the worst — and, most profoundly, that it uses these trying times as a learning opportunity.
At the most basic level, CAHMS should make clear that it is here to listen to students and support them as individuals. It should stop making broad, overly simplistic statements that flatten the rich levels of difference and heterogeneity that exist among its constituents; and it should recognize that no students’ lived experiences or mental health needs deserve to be treated as monolithic. People of color experience and react to racism differently, and painting these experiences with broad strokes only serves to further alienate and isolate students.
Texas and SFFA have posited themselves as allies in identifying the wrong solutions to the right problems. If the state of Texas is truly worried about college accessibility, perhaps it should focus on improving its own internal, bleeding education system — the state ranks 43rd nationally in educational attainment — rather than hollowly casting the admissions processes of another college over a thousand miles away. And if SFFA is truly worried about racism in higher education, perhaps it should stop contributing to it.
The worst thing we can do, that Harvard and Yale can do, is stay silent and pretend that Rachael’s suicide and the mental health struggles students’ are facing, is business as usual. We need to talk about it. Undoing a culture that engenders such pervasive mental health issues requires effort on both the part of the administration and the student body.
Life on campus has always been far from perfect, and as we wrote about last spring, our return may be one of the most opportune moments to re-imagine campus life. We should conceptualize our homecoming not merely as a return to “normalcy,” but instead as a hard reset: a chance to forge ahead with a new, enhanced mode of communal and collective living.
During the pandemic, we’ve missed HUDS’s signature blend of convenience, comfort, and care. Even more so, we all miss the splendid energy that has always managed to pervade the dining halls themselves — from the warmth of the dining staff who made each big hall feel like home, to the familiarity of the tables where we made our closest friends. It’s too easy to take such small things for granted amidst the hustle and bustle of campus life. But when we all return to campus, we can’t forget how much we’ve missed these sacred spaces, made complete by the community of students and staff who connect in them.
The deaths of Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong Yue were not inevitable, and “learning” from them cannot possibly atone for the undeniable loss and horror their slaughter creates. Our inaction — our failure to combat the pervasive dehumanization of our Asian and Asian American peers — failed them. This failure sears and is irredeemable, but it doesn’t mean acting to combat further anti-Asian violence is futile.
Still, Harvard markets itself as an instrument of social mobility: a ladder that propels students to higher status post-college lives. To move forward productively, we must begin to interrogate such falsities; to be honest about how stratifications of wealth and class affect students’ capacity to wield the Harvard experience as a tool for social ascension; and to ultimately explore the modes through which we can level the playing field at Harvard.
Yet the notion that knowledge production and dissemination are separate fields stands starkly opposed to Harvard’s own presumed mission as a higher education institution. In this specific case, it’s also borderline absurd: Preceptors and other non-ladder faculty are “the bedrock” of many of our teaching programs, and deserve admiration for their crucial work. Failing to include their voices in a study of their own line of work is as counterproductive as it is disrespectful.
Our peers should get the vaccine as quickly as they are allowed — even if that means having to navigate a sometimes clunky registration system. And once they’ve mastered the system, we hope that students will take the time to educate others on how to schedule appointments. Quickly vaccinating all members of our community is crucial, and we need an all-hands-on-deck approach.
For far too long, the Peabody Museum has placed academic research and intellectual inquiry over the most basic, fundamental requisites of restorative justice and decolonization. In fact, the museum’s intellectual pursuits have become dependent upon the imprisonment of Indigenous cultural and spiritual property, with their explorations relentlessly propounding systemic depravities in the name of academia.