The Crimson Editorial Board
Last Commencement, our Editorial Board faced a conundrum: How could we summarize the past three months — suddenly fleeing campus, quarantining in our homes, coping with a new virus both world-stopping and unknown — through a collective voice, when what ultimately unfolded for each of us was a deeply personal experience?
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.