Reihan Salam is of Bangladeshi extraction and went to Harvard, so he is in a position to explain precisely where Sarah Jeong’s animosity toward white men is coming from.
In some instances, white-bashing can actually serve as a means of ascent, especially for Asian Americans. Embracing the culture of upper-white self-flagellation can spur avowedly enlightened whites to eagerly cheer on their Asian American comrades who show (abstract, faceless, numberless) lower-white people what for. And, simultaneously, it allows Asian Americans who use the discourse to position themselves as ethnic outsiders, including those who are comfortably enmeshed in elite circles.
Think about what it takes to claw your way into Americaâ€™s elite strata. Unless you were born into the upper-middle class, your surest route is to pursue an elite education. To do that, it pays to be exquisitely sensitive to the beliefs and prejudices of the people who hold the power to grant you access to the social and cultural capital you badly want. By setting the standards for what counts as praiseworthy, elite universities have a powerful effect on youthful go-getters. Their admissions decisions represent powerful â€œnudgesâ€ towards certain attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and Iâ€™ve known many first- and second-generation kidsâ€”I was one of themâ€”who intuit this early on.
Consider the recent contretemps over Harvardâ€™s undergraduate admissions policies. Critics argue that the university actively discriminates against high-achieving Asian American applicants by claiming that a disproportionately large number of them have lackluster personalities. One obvious reaction to this charge is to denounce Harvard for its supposed double standards. This reaction might be especially appealing to those who see themselves as the sort of people whoâ€™d be dismissed by Harvardâ€™s suspect screening process, and whoâ€™d thus have every reason to resent it. Viewed through an elite-eye lens, though, this sort of reaction can seem a little gauche. Youâ€™re saying, in a sense, that you canâ€™t hack itâ€”you just canâ€™t crack the code. To a successful code-cracker, that could seem more than a little pathetic.
So what if youâ€™re an Asian American who has already made the cut? In that case, you might celebrate Harvardâ€™s wisdom in judiciously balancing its student body, or warn that Harvardâ€™s critics have a darker, more ominous agenda that canâ€™t be trusted. This establishes you as an insider, who gets that Harvard is doing the right thing, while allowing you to distance yourself from less-enlightened, and less-elite, people of Asian origin: Youâ€™re all being duped by evil lower-whites who donâ€™t grok racial justice.
And if youâ€™re an Asian American aspiring to make the cut, even with the deck stacked against you, you might eschew complaining in favor of doing everything in your power to cultivate the personal qualities Harvard wants most, or at least to appear to have done so. One straightforward way to demonstrate that you are Harvard material might be to denounce Harvard as racist, provided youâ€™re careful to do so in a way that flatters rather than offends those who run the university and are invested in its continued success. For example, you might reject the notion that affirmative action is the problem while arguing that Harvard shouldnâ€™t endeavor to increase representation of rural and working-class whites, on the spurious grounds that all whites are privileged. That youâ€™ll make these claims even though you yourself are hardly among the most downtrodden is immaterial: The important thing is to be interesting. What better way to demonstrate that youâ€™re not a humdrum worker bee, afflicted with a lackluster personality, than to carefully and selectively express the right kind of righteous indignation?
I certainly donâ€™t mean to single out Harvard. As the senior assistant director of admissions at Yale recently observed, â€œfor those students who come to Yale, we expect them to be versed in issues of social justice. We encourage them to be vocal when they see an opportunity for change in our institution and in the world.â€ Picture yourself as an eager high schooler reading these words, and then jotting down notes. You absorb, assuming you hadnâ€™t already, what it takes to make your way in contemporary elite America. And as you grow older, you lean into the rhetorical gambits that served you so well in the past. You might even build a worldview out of them.
Rising in the national cultural ranks to a seat on the New York Times Editorial Board, despite a lengthy record of statements of bigotry toward white men, gained 30-year-old Sarah Jeong her recent 15-minutes-of-fame, which in turn led to our learning a lot more about her.
Naomi Wu, a Chinese Internet YouTube and Twitter personality, describes how the editorial team at VICE casually endangered her politically in China by gossiping about her private life in flagrant violation of a previous agreement made with her. When she complained about being thrown under bus by a group of hipsters safe in Brooklyn, she got nowhere, so Naomi indulged in a very small bit of animated revenge, flashing the Brooklyn address of the VICE editor who’d done her wrong in a video display on the side of a pair of boots.
VICE responded by getting her YouTube video removed and persuading PATREON, her only possible YouTube pay channel, to terminate her account. They effectively shut off her monthly income stream, closing off her primary creative outlet and sending her back to free-lance coding for international clients.
Additionally, VICE sicced none other than Sarah Jeong on her.
Sarah did not come to listen, mediate, or learn- she was sent… to destroy me and protect a business model that has endangered voiceless sources in the developing World countless times.
Sarah Jeong was educated at Berkeley and Harvard and only an idiot would deny the woman is quite brilliant in her areas of expertise. This has given her a large platform and she is considered the final word in her respective fields by many people. Some of the areas that people look to her are law, Internet harassment, and Asian-American issues. As a journalist- this is her beat, and her word on the subject carries a crushing and near irrefutable weight. …
Her unprovoked attack was devastatingly effective, Western women all over Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and YouTube comments sections reposted about her â€œinsightful Twitter threadâ€ (of course those flocking to these threads had no pre-existing issues with a whorish looking underweight Asian girl and were not in the least bit eager to have me taken down a peg.)
The support I had previously had in getting Vice to limit the story to what had been agreed on, to treat me the same as the countless DIY men they cover without mention of their personal lives, and to having my Patreon account restored- evaporated.
Sarah had won- and she knew it. Sheâ€™d been trained by the best universities in the World to fight exactly this kind of fight, to win by any means, for right or wrong. She was a trained Special Forces combatant against child. With the platform that journalism gave her amplifying that power, sent on behalf of the exact sort of â€œprivileged White manâ€ she claims to despise, she went out to destroy another Asian woman. All while knowing full well the issue was far more complex than she was pretending, the facts completely different- and simply not caring. Not then, not in the following months when it became clear to more and more people just how badly she had abused her power, her education, her profession, and her privilege.
It took me two months before I could start up again, and then only with sponsorship provided by a Chinese tech company and with more strict limits on what I could post. No more nuanced discussion of tech issues on social media- Tor in China, VPNs as a wealth and class filter, gender equality in Chinese tech, MakeEd training for young women- all off-limits now. My income is half of what it was with Patreon and I am not well-off to begin with. The effect this has had on my life, my content, my standard of living- has been devastating and Sarah played no small part in it that.
Sarah may not like white men very much, but she is obviously not what you’d call all that loyal to fellow Asian chicks either.
Jonah Goldberg, in National Review, thinks that he recognizes Sarah Jeong as a type.
This is a woman who came to America as a young child, got a degree from Berkeley and Harvard Law School, decided not to pursue law and signed up to work for some online start-ups writing about technology. By the time sheâ€™s 30, the editorial board of the most prestigious newspaper in America hires her. So of course her defenders insist sheâ€™s justified in denouncing the four Ps (the Patriarchy of the Pale Penis People). I mean look how the man has kept her down!
Never mind that there are very few nations where this sort of career path could be replicated, including in Jeongâ€™s native South Korea or many of the supposedly more enlightened Scandinavian utopias we hear so much about these days.
The whole thing is ludicrous, which is why I liked Reihanâ€™s essay on the strategic pose of being an over-achieving anti-white Asian so much. He writes:
Think about what it takes to claw your way into Americaâ€™s elite strata. Unless you were born into the upper-middle class, your surest route is to pursue an elite education. To do that, it pays to be exquisitely sensitive to the beliefs and prejudices of the people who hold the power to grant you access to the social and cultural capital you badly want. By setting the standards for what counts as praiseworthy, elite universities have a powerful effect on youthful go-getters. Their admissions decisions represent powerful â€œnudgesâ€ towards certain attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and Iâ€™ve known many first- and second-generation kids â€” I was one of them â€” who intuit this early on.
Schumpeter predicted, before the massive expansion of higher education, that capitalism would breed a new class of intellectuals (writers, journalists, artists, lawyers, etc.) who would be motivated by both ideology and self-interest to undermine liberal democratic capitalism. â€œUnlike any other type of society, capitalism inevitably and by virtue of the very logic of its civilization creates, educates and subsidizes a vested interest in social unrest,â€ Schumpeter wrote in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. He adds a bit further on: â€œFor such an atmosphere [of social hostility to capitalism] to develop it is necessary that there be groups whose interest it is to work up and organize resentment, to nurse it, to voice it and to lead it.â€
Sarah Jeong is not the ideal example of what Schumpeter was talking about, viz. capitalism (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fits that bill better). But she is a good example of the larger adversary culture that universities not only â€œnudgeâ€ students toward, but actively indoctrinate them into. Simply put, there is an entire industry dedicated to the proposition that not just the American past, but the American present, is disordered, bigoted, and oppressive. And Jeongâ€™s meteoric and meritocratic rise demonstrates how so many of our best and brightest have gotten that message. How many have internalized it as ideology or have just cynically decided thatâ€™s how you get ahead is an open question.
Wesley Yang, in Tablet (Funny, he doesn’t look Jewish.), has an intelligent, fair-minded essay on the paradoxes of Ivy League admission.
Private colleges in America were all founded to pursue a certain vision of the world. Even if many have fallen away from their original religious sectarian missions, they retain a certain coherence of purpose through their ability to mold their classes as they see fit. On its face, there is nothing wrong with maintaining admissions policies that favor certain kinds of people over othersâ€”provided of course that the preference doesnâ€™t violate the law by discriminating against applicants on the basis of their race, gender or national origin. Some schools want to teach Catholics. Some want to teach Jews. Some want to train scientists. Others want to train investment bankers and politicians. Each of these schools will design admission policies accordingly.
There is also something intuitively true about the proposition that grades and test scores are imperfect proxies for genuine merit in whatever area or field. The Ivy Leagues have always refused to be the colleges of the â€œbest studentsâ€ and have instead sought to identify the â€œleaders of tomorrow.â€ It doesnâ€™t take too much thinking to realize how little overlap there might be between these categories of person. In an amicus brief submitted on behalf of Harvard University in 1974, the Harvard law professor and former solicitor general of the United States, Archibald Cox, noted that Harvard College selected less than 15 percent of its entering class purely â€œon the basis of extraordinary intellectual potential,â€ going on to express the fear that â€œif promise of high scholarship were the sole or even predominant criterion, Harvard College would lose a great deal of its vitality and the quality of the educational experience offered to all students would suffer.â€
Any system focused on the likely leaders of tomorrow must include the sons and daughters of privilege along with the brightest and most driven students, giving the former the access to the latter and vice versa. Such a class will by definition have a better understanding of the ways of the world and how to master it, which is in part why Harvard intervened in the first case to go before the Supreme Court challenging affirmative action. As Jerome Karabel, author of The Chosen: A History of Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, makes plain, Harvardâ€™s interest in the case â€œwent well beyond the issues of blacks and other minorities.â€
As Karabel writes, the case â€œraised the specter of an encroachment on the institutional discretion that Harvard believed indispensable to the protection of vital institutional interests. In the worst case, a ruling for DeFunis [the student who was denied admission] might lead to the court imposing the model of pure academic meritocracy that [Dean W.J.] Bender and his successor at Harvard had so definitively rejected.â€
Karabelâ€™s book is an exhaustively detailed survey of the ways in which the Ivy Leagues battled through the decades to hold the threat of pure meritocracy at bay. At the start of the 20th century, the meritocratic danger was Jewish. In 1908, Harvard began to select its students on the basis of a set of admissions examinations. By the 1920s, as Karabel writes, â€œit had become clear that a system of selection focused solely on scholastic performance would lead to the admission of an increasing number of Jewish students, most of them of eastern European background.â€ The institutions sought, as Karabel put it, â€œthe latitude to admit the dull sons of major donors and to exclude the brilliant but unpolished children of immigrants,â€ and therefore created a system relying on â€œdiscretion and opacityâ€”discretion so that the gatekeepers would be free to do what they wished and opacity so that how they used their discretion would not be subject to public scrutiny.â€
The system of holistic admissions that place a heavy stress of highly subjective qualities such as character, personality, and leadership that we all take for granted was invented during an era of radical immigration exclusion to supply the discretion and opacity that the institutions demanded in order to maintain the kind of student bodies that they thought suitableâ€”namely white, Christian, and Anglo native-born. But while holistic admissions were born in racist exclusion, the affirmative action debate presented a golden opportunity for the institution to recast this discretion as something at once legally and morally unassailableâ€”by cloaking the institutional interest in independence and discretion in terms of protecting and advancing the interests of racial minorities. This ingenious move, reconciling the claims of justice and self-interest in the manner habitual to a certain kind of liberal, secured the cartel power of the Ivy Leagues to mint a ruling elite for a generation.
No one should fault the keepers of the Ivy Leagues for seeking to hold in balance inherited privilege with meritocratic excellence. It was the smart play. No one can gainsay the results obtained by what history will regard as some of the greatest brand managers the world has ever seen. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 ended a string of 27 consecutive years in which the president of the United States held a degree from either Harvard or Yale University. Every member of the Supreme Court is a graduate of one of two law schools, Harvard or Yale. Harvard University has an endowment of $37 billion, which is a sum at least four times larger than that controlled by hedge-fund king George Soros.
Neither should we begrudge those invested in this system of mutual advantage their exasperation at Asian immigrants for unwittingly acting as spoilers. For that is what Asians have done: By arriving here in such large numbers, and importing their distinctive orientation toward educationâ€”by doing so well on grades and tests and being so assiduous in their pursuit of extracurricular activitiesâ€”theyâ€™ve made it impossible for the brand managers of the Ivy Leagues to preserve the balance between merit and social justice and inherited privilege in a way that is remotely tenable. Something had to give, and it appears that soon enough, something will, with large consequences for the country.
Minding the Campus explains that Harvard is following the example of most elite colleges these days by putting in charge the sort of guy who will reliably cave in to the demands of crazy leftist radicals every time.
Lawrence Bacow has been named the president of Harvard, succeeding Drew Gilpin Faust, who held the office for 11 years.
Mysteriously missing from the news coverage was the fact that Bacow was a 2007 finalist for the â€œSheldon,â€ our coveted award for worst college president of the year. The award is a statuette that looks something like the Oscar, except the Oscar features a man with no face looking straight ahead, whereas the Sheldon shows a man with no spine looking the other way.
The award is named for the late Sheldon Hackney, the former president of the University of Pennsylvania and the Babe Ruth of modern Sheldonism.
As president of Tufts University, Lawrence Bacow looked the other way when a student-faculty committee put a conservative Tufts publication on trial and found it guilty for publishing two parodies. One was a mock Christmas carol making fun of affirmative action and the other was a satire of Tuftâ€™s Islamic Awareness Week.
The committee accused the journal of causing â€œembarrassment, which we had thought was the entire purpose of satire. The committee ordered the publication not to run any unsigned articles in the future, a rule not applied to other campus publications. The committee also hinted that funding would be cut if other controversial articles were published.
FIRE wrote Tufts University President Lawrence Bacow to ask why a verdict declaring The Primary Source (TPS) guilty of â€œharassmentâ€ and â€œcreating a hostile environmentâ€ still standsâ€•despite the fact that Bacow himself has openly admitted that such a punishment could not stand under the First Amendment.
â€œWe explained to President Bacow (again) that the only way for Tufts University to shed the dishonor of being one of three schools named to FIREâ€™s Red Alert listâ€•reserved for schools FIRE deems â€˜the worst of the worstâ€™ when it comes to protecting rights on campusâ€•was by immediately dropping the guilty finding against TPS. As we wrote:
â€œAs long as the harassment finding against The Primary Source remains, students at Tufts are in danger of being censored and sanctioned merely for expressing unpopular opinions on campus.â€
Eventually, Bacow acknowledged freedom of speech by eliminating punishment for the student journalists and praised free expression but refused to overrule the guilty verdict, leading the Sheldon committee to conclude that Bacowâ€™s commitment to free speech â€˜â€™shuttles between tepid and imaginary.â€.
A mutual friend invited Bacow and me to lunch, where Bacow once again reiterated his innocent but guilty position, a stance opposed by the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and several newspapers. It was, however, the only time a Sheldon candidate argued his case before the whole Sheldon committee (me).
Bacow lost the worst-president title that year to a superlative effort by Richard Brodhead, president of Duke.
Bacow resembles Yale’s own Peter Salovey very closely. He did not attend Harvard College as an undergraduate, but does possess the tenuous connection of a Harvard graduate degree (in his case from the Law School). Salovey’s Social Science (Psychology) background is bad enough, but Bacow spent decades specializing in “Environmental Studies,” i.e. trendy superstition based on an updated version of the Manichaean heresy.
There are many ways a college student might spend spring break. Making an archaeological breakthrough is not usually one of them. In his first year at Harvard, Manny Medrano did just that.
â€œThereâ€™s something in me, I canâ€™t explain where it came from, but I love the idea of digging around and trying to find secrets hidden from the past,â€ Medrano says.
With the help of his professor, Gary Urton, a scholar of Pre-Columbian studies, Medrano interpreted a set of six khipus, knotted cords used for record keeping in the Inca Empire. By matching the khipus to a colonial-era Spanish census document, Medrano and Urton uncovered the meaning of the cords in greater detail than ever before. Their findings could contribute to a better understanding of daily life in the Andean civilization.
The Inca Empire reached its height of power in 15th- and 16th-century Peru. When Spanish conquistadors invaded, the Inca had established the largest and most complex society in the Americas. Architectural marvels from the civilization, such as Machu Picchu, survive to this day, but the Inca left behind no written records.
â€œThe only sources we have at present are chronicles of the Inca that were written by the Spaniards,â€ Urton says. â€œWe know in a lot of cases those histories were skewed by Spanish beliefs and Spanish motivations, and so we donâ€™t really have any indigenous Inca history.â€
The only records the Inca are known to have kept are in the form of intricately knotted khipu textiles. In 2002, Urton began Harvardâ€™s Khipu Database Project. He traveled to museums and private collections around the world to record the numbers of knots, lengths of cords, colors of fibers, and other distinguishing details about every Inca khipu he could findâ€”more than 900 in total.
Urton says he and other researchers in the field have always had a general sense of what the khipus represented. Many, they could tell, had to do with census data. Others appeared to be registers of goods or calendar systems. But, until recently, none of the khipus Urton studied could be understood on a very detailed level. If the khipus held messages or cultural information beyond just numbers, the meanings were opaque to modern scholars.
A turning point came when Urton began looking into a set of six khipus from the 17th-century Santa River Valley region of Northwest Peru. One day, Urton picked up a book and happened to spot a Spanish census document from the same region and time period.
â€œA lot of the numbers that were recorded in that census record matched those six khipus exactly,â€ Urton says.
It was an exciting enough coincidence that Urton mentioned it to his undergraduate students at the end of class in the spring of 2016. For Medrano, who was sitting in the lecture hall that day, it was too enticing of a lead to ignore.
â€œI walked up to him and said, â€˜hey, spring break is coming up, if you need someone to put a few hours into this, Iâ€™d be happy to take a look,â€™â€ Medrano recalls. …
The khipus in question are in a private collection in Peru, so Medrano worked from information Urton had recorded in his khipu database. Medrano recalls combing through spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel, graphing some of the data, and enjoying the hunt for patterns.
â€œI have a love of puzzles, just for entertainment. I love to do a Sudoku on a plane or something, but this is so much more profound,â€ he says.
Medrano comes from a Mexican-American family and speaks Spanish, so understanding the Spanish census document was no problem. Handling numbers and data came naturally to him as well, as an economics major. The challenge, as both Medrano and Urton note, seemed to demand a perfect alignment of his skills and interests.
â€œNot every archaeology project operates in Excel,â€ Medrano points out.
Medrano noticed that the way each cord was tied onto the khipu seemed to correspond to the social status of the 132 people recorded in the census document. The colors of the strings also appeared to be related to the peopleâ€™s first names. The correlations seemed too strong to be a coincidence. After spring break, Medrano told his professor about his theories.
â€œI just remember being pretty excited, that, â€˜Wow! I think the guyâ€™s got it,â€™â€ Urton says. â€œThere were a couple of things that didnâ€™t add up and Iâ€™d point that out and heâ€™d take it back and work on it for a week or two and come back and he would have understood something about it at a deeper level.â€
Medrano worked with Urton over the next several months and the two compiled their findings into a paper which will be published in the peer-reviewed journal Ethnohistory in January. Medrano is the first author on the paper, indicating he contributed the bulk of the research, something Urton notes is extremely rare for an undergraduate student.
Sabine Hyland researches Andean anthropology at the University of St. Andrews. She has read Medrano and Urtonâ€™s forthcoming paper and describes their discoveries as â€œthrilling.â€
â€œManny has proven that the way in which pendant cords are tied to the top cord indicates which social group an individual belonged to. This is the first time anyone has shown that and itâ€™s a big deal,â€ Hyland says.
Urton is now optimistic that the six khipus examined in the research could serve as a key to decode the hundreds of others he has in his database. The colors of the cords as they relate to first names could hint at the meanings of colors in other khipus, for example.
â€œThereâ€™s a lot we can draw on from this one case,â€ Urton says.
I was surprised by all the inaccurate boasting about Harvard’s alleged academic & test-score superiority. I fear these young people are deluded and misinformed. I’m not up on current stats, but I know my own Yale Class beat the same entering Harvard Class’s SAT scores.
The bit at the end, mocking all the other Ivy League schools, was amusing.
G. David Bednar won’t give Harvard a plug nickel. Personally, I wish there was some way for Yale’s alumni to take back past donations.
My 30th Harvard College reunion is in October. I plan to attend to see good friends and share great memories. Harvard asked for a donation. When I did not respond, they asked for a smaller one. Finally, the alumni office asked for just $10 as a sign of support.
But I will not give $10 to Harvard and want to explain why.
The headlines from American campuses raise concern and often strain credulity. My hope on reading these stories is always that my school will set a standard to which others might repair. Recent examples prove Harvard has not.
The Harvard Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion recently distributed a â€œplacemat guide for holiday discussions on race and justice with loved onesâ€ to help students reform their parentsâ€™ bigoted views. Last week, the university extended a fellowship to a dishonorably discharged, 17-count felon and traitor to the nation. Disbelief followed by widespread indignation ensured the rescinding of the placemats and the invitation to Chelsea Manning. But astonishment lingers at the void of common sense, or mutated presumptions, necessary for them to have occurred in the first place.
The equally Orwellian Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging decided that the word â€œPuritansâ€ (Harvardâ€™s founders belonged to that sect) must be excised from the lyrics of the schoolâ€™s 181-year-old anthem. The Task Force made the 1984 analogy unmistakable by adding, â€œan endorsed alternativeâ€ would be created, â€œthe goal is to affirm what is valuable from the past while also re-inventing that past to meet and speak to the present moment.â€
In late 2015 Harvard removed the title â€œhouse masterâ€ from what are essentially residential advisers, a title that reflected Harvardâ€™s Oxford and Cambridge roots. The administration announced that although â€œwhat came before was not wrongâ€ as the â€œacademic context of the term has always been clear,â€ and even though the tradition was â€œbelovedâ€ by many alumni, the university would nevertheless abolish the title because â€œthe general feelingâ€ is that it â€œcauses discomfort.â€
Harvard joined the mania for erasing disfavored historical references, removing the Royall Crest at the Law School. Harvard also authorized its first â€œBlack Commencementâ€ in 2017. Organizers explained the event was â€œnot about segregationâ€ but â€œbuilding a community.â€ Wouldnâ€™t a single, unified graduation do that? How can anyone who abhors racial division in America see separate graduations as a step forward?
To wide alarm, the administration announced it would withhold scholarship support and prohibit students from becoming team captains or leaders of student organizations if they joined finals clubs (private organizations similar to fraternities and sororities). Harry Lewis, former dean of the college and a computer science professor, called the plans â€œdangerous new groundâ€ and â€œa frightening prospect.â€
â€œUsing â€˜nondiscriminationâ€™ as a cudgel against studentsâ€™ private associations is odiously patronizing,â€ Lewis wrote in the Washington Post. By reaching into the private associations of Harvard students and declaring some of them to be, in essence, â€˜suppressive personsâ€™ because of their nonconformity, you are, I fear, passing from creating community to molding a monoculture . . . â€
The chairman of Harvardâ€™s English Department announced earlier this year that all English majors will be required to take a course in authors â€œmarginalized for historical reasons.â€ Literature that did not â€œbenefitâ€ from â€œracism, patriarchy, and heteronormativityâ€ will be read. This is a version of what Yaleâ€™s Harold Bloom once called the School of Resentment. â€œTo read in the service of any ideology,â€ he wrote, â€œis not in my judgment to read at all..â€
A university release in April claimed to have advanced diversity based on a 6 percent reduction in the proportion of white male faculty from 2008 to 2017. But the diversity that matters at a university is diversity of thought. According to a 2015 Crimson report, however, 96 percent of Harvardâ€™s faculty recently supported Democrats. The dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences was â€œamazed at how high that number is.â€ Harvard government professor Harvey C. Mansfield observed, â€œThe only debate we get here is between the far-leftâ€¦and the liberals. It gives students a view that a very narrow spectrum of opinion is the only way to think.â€
Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust established a faculty committee on Harvard and slavery. She championed a conference this spring at which she remarked that even though the college never owned a slave it was â€œdirectly complicitâ€ in slavery. Keynote speaker Ta-Nehisi Coates was blunter. â€œI think every single one of these universities needs to make reparations,â€ he said.â€I donâ€™t know how you get around that, I just donâ€™t. I donâ€™t know how you conduct research that shows that your very existence is rooted in a great crimeâ€¦â€ Sitting next to Faust, he added: â€œLet me be very clear about something: I do think it involves a payment of money.â€
The intent of the conference being evident, two questions arise: First, if I give, how much will go to â€œreparationsâ€ and how will that improve education? Second, did Coates consider, in his calculation of Harvardâ€™s unpaid debts for slavery, the hundreds of names of her Civil War dead on the tablets of Memorial Hall?
Heterodox Academy, a group that monitors free speech rights on campuses, ranks the University of Chicago No. 1 and Harvard No. 104. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) gave Harvard its â€œred lightâ€ (worst) rating. The Crimson reports on a â€œpolitical closetâ€ at Harvard. One undergraduate related the need â€œto fall in line with what I think is the professorâ€™s ideology.â€ Another who published a pro-life article â€œis nervous during our interviewâ€ and related social media efforts to isolate him. Yet another identifies the â€œnotion that everyone should have free thought and be open to everyoneâ€™s ideasâ€”except people who donâ€™t agree with liberals.â€ The dean of freshmen recently acknowledged the â€œdismayingâ€ results of a survey revealing â€œpolitical opinions and perspectives have not been given proper respect or appreciation on campus.â€ Is this the sole discrimination at Harvard that musters no outrage?
Earlier this Spring, it was announced that the closing line of Harvard’s Alma Mater “Fair Harvard” would be changed from “‘Til the stock of the Puritans die.” The stock of the Puritans has not totally died, but it has obviously surrendered primacy of representation at the ancient university it founded in 1636 to strangers and aliens.
Harvard Magazine is their equivalent of the Yale Alumni Magazine. All the Ivy Alumni Mags are actually currently in cahoots and they run the same Personal Ads.
Mallory Ortberg has also noticed just how incredibly pretentious these Personal Ads can be.
Every time I visit Nicoleâ€™s house I get to read the personals section of Harvard Magazine, a feature that an anonymous Washington Post commenter called â€œvulgarâ€ in 1987. It is the highlight of my year, in no small part because every single advertiser feels like it is VERY URGENT to stress exactly how rich and thin they are. …
And the further you get into the weeds of the personals, the more frenzied the synonyms get, because everyone is concerned with making ABSOLUTELY SURE that you are picking up what they are putting down, but they are also (belatedly and barely) concerned about seeming judgmental or close-minded, so they try to speak in the worldâ€™s most breakable code.
â€œTrim widow â€“ fit, energetic, health-conscious, Grace-Kelly-like, sylvan, sylphlike, Hepburnesque (Audrey), could probably fit through two fence slats, svelte, as heavy as fifteen Vogues stacked together, could be cast as a tree nymph in a play about Greek mythology, Iâ€™m hiking right now actually, could fit into Julian Casablancasâ€™ from the Strokesâ€™ jeans circa 2002 â€“ seeks Harvard grad who has been on an airplane with a staircase and was allowed to climb that staircase, never has to wear the loaner jacket they keep behind the hostess podium at Per Se, has the same last name as someone from the 1600s, wouldnâ€™t look out of place if for some reason the Reagan Administration took over tomorrow due to a rift in the space-time continuum, has had reason to correct someoneâ€™s pronunciation of the word â€œveldt,â€ has completed at least two lecture tours outside of Continental Europe, can see the ocean right now from his office, has had bottles of wine opened with a sword for him more than three times, could be cast as a background character in an Agatha Christie adaptation without needing to make significant wardrobe alterations.â€
â€œYou: Could get up to use the business-class lavatory without being questioned by a flight attendant.â€
â€œTired of being on symphony committee boardsâ€
â€œYou: have been recently aghastâ€
â€œExcellent at dressage on a regular-sized horse but could easily compete riding a much smaller animal, like a sheep, if the situation called for itâ€
â€œYou enjoy long walks from cars to helicopters, or from helicopters to shipyardsâ€
â€œThe number of pages in my last prenuptial agreement were greater than my current bodyweight in imperial poundsâ€
â€œYou: Could easily hike to the elevation above sea level, in feet, that corresponds to your checking accountâ€™s daily limit.â€
â€œMe: finds the seats in first class are too wide and have taken to traveling with a life-sized porcelain doll to fill the spaceâ€
â€œhas strong opinions about rainscaldâ€
â€œYou: are often shown advertisements for Patek Philippe watches without having to go out of your way to see themâ€
â€œdonâ€™t have gout but could probably get it in a week if you wanted toâ€
â€œYou recently executive produced a documentary about berries or manatees or watershedsâ€
â€œYour grandfather: The number of research libraries that share his last name is greater than zero.â€
â€œrecently remodeled somethingâ€
â€œI could be cast as a proficient martial artist in a Joss Whedon franchise, if I were familiar with the work of Joss Whedon, which I am notâ€
â€œYou: Have never been inside of a Tommy Bahamasâ€
The daughter of a major donor to Harvard University was among the accepted students whose offer of admission was rescinded following the revelation that some incoming freshman were posting obscene and offensive memes in a private Facebook group chat, The Boston Globe reports.
At least 10 students lost their place at the university, according to The Harvard Crimson, which first reported the story on Sunday. Students in the chat allegedly shared offensive memes targeting minorities and mocking child abuse, sexual assault, and the Holocaust.
According to the Globe, after someone notified the admissions office about the posts, school administrators contacted students who posted the material in the spring and asked them to explain their actions.
Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus, called the schoolâ€™s actions â€œdangerousâ€ and a â€œserious mistake.â€
â€œThese actions are not consistent with the spirit of the First Amendment,â€ he told the Globe. Dershowitz told the paper he had not seen the posts and had no first-hand knowledge of the situation.
That little girl should get Daddy to hire Alan Dershowitz to sue Harvard and to sue personally the University bureaucrats who violated her privacy and trampled her free speech rights. Her father ought to ask his attorney to represent the other nine victims as well.
Harvard College rescinded admissions offers to at least ten prospective members of the Class of 2021 after the students traded sexually explicit memes and messages that sometimes targeted minority groups [i.e., Jokes] in a private Facebook group chat.
A handful of admitted students formed the messaging groupâ€”titled, at one point, â€œHarvard memes for horny bourgeois teensâ€â€”on Facebook in late December, according to two incoming freshmen.
In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child â€œpiÃ±ata time.â€
After discovering the existence and contents of the chat, Harvard administrators revoked admissions offers to at least ten participants in mid-April, according to several members of the group. University officials have previously said that Harvardâ€™s decision to rescind a studentâ€™s offer is final. …
The chat grew out of a roughly 100-member messaging group that members of the Class of 2021 set up in early December to share memes about popular culture. Admitted students found and contacted each other using the official Harvard College Class of 2021 Facebook group.
â€œA lot of students were excited about forming group chats with people who shared similar interests,â€ Jessica Zhang â€™21, an incoming freshman who joined both chats, wrote in an email. â€œSomeone posted about starting a chat for people who liked memes.â€
Messages shared in the original group were mostly â€œlighthearted,â€ wrote Zhang, who said she did not post in the splitoff meme group and that her admission offer was not rescinded. But some members soon suggested forming â€œa more R-ratedâ€ meme chat, according to Cassandra Luca â€™21, who joined the first meme group but not the second, and who also said her offer was not revoked.
Luca said the founders of the â€œdarkâ€ group chat demanded that students post provocative memes in the larger messaging group before allowing them to join the splinter group.
â€œThey were like, â€˜Oh, you have to send a meme to the original group to prove that you could get into the new one,â€™â€ Luca said. â€œThis was a just-because-we-got-into-Harvard-doesnâ€™t-mean-we-canâ€™t-have-fun kind of thing.â€
Employees in the Admissions Office emailed students who posted offensive memes in mid-April asking them to disclose every picture they sent over the group, according to one member of the chat whose admission offer was revoked. The student spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be publicly identified with the messages.
â€œThe Admissions Committee was disappointed to learn that several students in a private group chat for the Class of 2021 were sending messages that contained offensive messages and graphics,â€ reads a copy of the Admissions Officeâ€™s email obtained by The Crimson. â€œAs we understand you were among the members contributing such material to this chat, we are asking that you submit a statement by tomorrow at noon to explain your contributions and actions for discussion with the Admissions Committee.â€
â€œIt is unfortunate that I have to reach out about this situation,â€ the email reads.
The anonymous student also said that administrators informed implicated students that their admissions status was under review and instructed them not to come to Visitas, Harvardâ€™s annual weekend of programming for prospective freshmen held at the end of April. Roughly a week later, at least ten members of the group chat received letters informing them that their offers of admission had been withdrawn.
The description for the official Facebook group for the Class of 2021, set up and maintained by the Admissions Office, disclaims all administrative responsibility for â€œunofficial groupsâ€ and warns members their admissions offers can be rescinded under specific circumstances.
â€œAs a reminder, Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character,â€ the description reads.
Luca said she had mixed feelings about the administrationâ€™s move to revoke admissions offers. She said she was â€œgoing back and forthâ€ on the matter.
â€œOn the one hand, I think people can post whatever they want because they have the right to do that,â€ Luca said. â€œI donâ€™t think the school should have gone in and rescinded some offers because it wasnâ€™t Harvard-affiliated, it was people doing stupid stuff.â€
She added, though, that if memes sent over the chat posed any kind of threat to membersâ€™ lives or well-being, then she believed administratorsâ€™ actions were justified.
Other members of the Class of 2021 said they strongly supported the Admissions Officeâ€™s decision. Zhang wrote that she thought the studentsâ€™ actions were indefensible, and that the administration was correct in choosing to penalize those who posted obscene images.
â€œI appreciate humor, but there are so many topics that just should not be joked about,â€ Zhang wrote. â€œI respect the decision of the admissions officers to rescind the offers because those actions really spoke about the studentsâ€™ true characters.â€
â€œI do not know how those offensive images could be defended,â€ she added.
Wyatt Hurt â€™21, who said he did not participate in either meme chat, agreed and said he was glad administrators took action.
â€œI havenâ€™t seen any of the stuff firsthand, but I definitely think that the administration made the right choice and I think that as an incoming studentâ€”we all have our group chats and everything like that going onâ€”we all pretty much universally agree it was the right decision,â€ he said.
Hurt added that he recently attended several scholarship conferences and that students he met at those eventsâ€”many of whom he said planned to matriculate at Ivy League schoolsâ€”also agreed that â€œrescinding was definitely the way to go.â€
This incident marks the second time in two years that Harvard has dealt with a situation where incoming freshmen exchanged offensive messages online. Last spring, some admitted members of the Class of 2020 traded jokes about race and mocked feminists in an unofficial class GroupMe chat, prompting Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons â€™67 to issue a joint statement condemning the studentsâ€™ actions.
â€œHarvard College and the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid were troubled and disappointed to see a conversation that included graphics with offensive themes,â€ Khurana and Fitzsimmons wrote in their statement, which they posted on the Class of 2020â€™s Facebook page.
But administrators chose not to discipline members of the Class of 2020 who authored the messages. Then-Interim Dean of Student Life Thomas A. Dingman â€™67 said in an interview at the time that the individuals in question were â€œnot matriculated students at this point.
Where does Harvard get off investigating the content of teenage admittees’ jokes in a private group on social media?
This country needs a federal law absolutely protecting the privacy of all electronic communication, including both email and social media. Beyond that, email services and social media companies ought to be held liable when private communications are intruded upon with resulting injury to their owners.
One is inclined to advise those wronged ten students that they ought to consider themselves lucky that Fate has saved them from becoming members of that community of prigs and Pharisees in Cambridge. In a properly-run world, the president of Yale would respond by ordering letters of admission sent to each of those ten kids.
The Crimson reports that “the Puritan stock” is going to be re-written out of Harvard’s alma mater song.
Harvard will hold a competition to change the final line of â€œFair Harvard,â€ the Universityâ€™s 181-year-old alma mater, which has read â€œTill the stock of the Puritans dieâ€ since its composition in 1836.
Government professor Danielle S. Allen, co-chair of Presidential Task Force for Inclusion and Belonging, announced the plans to change the lyric at a three-hour event the task force held Wednesday in Sanders Theatre. Convened by University President Drew G. Faust in September, the committee is tasked with evaluating Harvardâ€™s efforts to create an inclusive environment and recommend improvements.
The group is also launching a second competition for â€œa new musical variant” of the alma mater that could be performed as electronic, hip hop, or spoken word music. The traditional music would remain the official mode of performance for the song, but the new mode would be â€œpreserved by the University as an endorsed alternative,â€ according to the groupâ€™s websiteâ€”â€œThe inspiration is ‘Hamilton.’ The point is to use your imagination,â€ it reads.
University affiliates can submit lyric and music variant submissions on the task forceâ€™s website through September, and winners will be announced in spring 2018.
Also at Wednesdayâ€™s event, the â€œAfternoon of Engagement on Inclusion and Belongingâ€ featured remarks from Faust, stories from Harvard affiliates, and collaborative exercises designed to inform the task forceâ€™s future discussions.
In her welcoming remarks, Faust shared a story about receiving letters from young girls around the world after she became the Universityâ€™s first female president.
â€œDiversity, 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,â€ she said.
Individuals from across the University then took to the stage to discuss their personal experiences with â€œbelonging.â€…
Eden H. Girma â€™18… recalled participating in a protest at Primal Scream, a biannual naked run around Harvard Yard before the first day of finals. The protesters wanted to observe minute and a half of silence for black men killed by police, Girma said.
â€œThinking back to that experience, with all of the emotions that I had, I can only see at the moment, that seems so clear to me, seeing two Harvards. One, a student body that felt so intrinsically implicated in the violence that was happening in the world, and another that seemed so blind to that,â€ Girma said. â€œThinking retrospectively, I know there are so many nuances to this.â€
Fair Harvard! we join in thy Jubilee throng,
And with blessings surrender thee oâ€™er
By these Festival-rites, from the Age that is past,
To the Age that is waiting before.
O Relic and Type of our ancestorsâ€™ worth,
That hast long kept their memory warm,
First flowâ€™r of their wilderness! Star of their night!
Calm rising thro’ change and thro’ storm.
Farewell! be thy destinies onward and bright!
To thy children the lesson still give,
With freedom to think, and with patience to bear,
And for Right ever bravely to live.
Let not moss-covered Error moor thee at its side,
As the world on Truthâ€™s current glides by,
Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love,
Till the stock of the Puritans die.
Samuel Gilman, Class of 1811
Shouldn’t they also change the song’s title to “Dusky Harvard”?
The admission to elite Ivy League Schools of non-traditional applicants started out as an effort to make more national the constituency of such schools and to discharge what the administrations of those universities saw as a duty to supply a national leadership class. In those days, the basis for the admission of outsider applicants was a combination meritocratic grades and test scores with geographical diversity.
More recently, identity group representation and Affirmative Action compensatory admission of members of favored groups has played a major role in determining the makeup of classes at elite schools.
In my own day, we had only a small number of African-American classmates, but they were admitted on pretty much the same sort of bases as everybody else, getting only a small (equivalent to geographical diversity) number of extra points for being black. Our black classmates consequently integrated into their Yale classes quite conventionally.
A few years later, in the early 1970s, Yale had a larger constituency of African Americans, admitted with a much stronger dose of racial favoritism. Those admittees were commonly far less well prepared for Yale educationally and integrated far less well. They tended to hang out together in all black groups, and spent most of their time in the African-American identity house. One tended not to know any of them. A few were spectacular failures, winding up arrested for crimes on campus. One guy, admitted to Yale out of the New Haven inner city community, was busted for dealing heroin to townies out of his room in Jonathan Edwards.
Today, decades later, the representation of non-traditional minority groups at these elite schools is much larger still, and those groups of students are more unruly, more obsessed with group identity and historical grievances, more self-entitled than ever.
In the early decades of the 20th Century, presidents of elite schools like Harvard placed a strict quota on Jewish admissions, fearing that intensely keen Jewish academic competition would change the composition of classes and the constituency of such schools completely, remaking them into Jewish institutions.
Today, minority admittees and presiding administrations eagerly lobby for fundamentally changing the composition, constituency, and even the complexion of those schools. Matters have reached a point at which the non-traditional groups feel entitled to rename buildings and to purge references and memorials to illustrious alumni and benefactors on the basis of their own amour propre. Now, at Harvard, they are sending the founders and original constituency of the college into exile from the school’s alma mater. All this causes me to wonder: had the people who initiated the effort at diversity admissions been able to foresee this occurring, would they ever have admitted any of these minorities at all in the first place?