Hypocrisy and the Harvard Faculty
November 16, 2007
by Azhar Majeed
The latest head-shaking Harvard story is that anthropology professor J. Lorand Matory introduced a one-sentence resolution at a faculty meeting stating that “this Faculty commits itself to fostering civil dialogue in which people with a broad range of perspectives feel safe and are encouraged to express their reasoned and evidence-based ideas.” Professor Matory, according to the Harvard Crimson, “has claimed that critics of Israel, like himself, ‘tremble in fear’ of repercussions for their views.”
As a pretty close student of the goings-on at Harvard…I have to say that the only faculty member I know who actually did suffer for his views on Israel was Lawrence Summers, who happened to be the university president at the time he gave a speech positing a possible link between animosity toward Israel and anti-Semitism or the appearance of anti-Semitism. That speech, plus another unpopular speech supporting the ROTC program, which Harvard’s faculty stripped of university funding in 1995, capped off by Summers’ infamous musing on women’s suitability for careers in science made Summers sufficiently vulnerable so that a no-confidence resolution introduced by none other than Professor Matory caused Harvard’s governing body to vote “no confidence” in Summers, resulting in his resignation in February 2006.
But instead, a double standard appears to rule on Harvard’s campus.Presumably, had Harvard truly dedicated itself to a culture that fostered “civil dialogue in which people with a broad range of perspectives feel safe and are encouraged to express their reasoned and evidence-based ideas,” Summers would still be Harvard’s president.