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It’s Time to Downgrade Elite Academic Institutions

Posted on Sunday, October 15, 2023
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by AMAC Newsline
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AMAC Exclusive – By David P. Deavel

Website of the institution of Harvard

It’s a very bad sign when the editors of Playboy have better moral judgment than Harvard. But that’s precisely what we’ve seen in the last week. American higher education, particularly its most elite precincts, has shown the nation that it is not only tolerating but promoting toxic hatred that will excuse the most brutal terrorism. It isn’t news to those paying attention. But it should be a wake-up call to all that parents, alumni, and our government need to stop supporting these institutions.

Playboy ended their business relationship with performer Mia Khalifa for her full-throated support not just of “the Palestinian people,” but of Hamas itself. She described one photo of terrorists as a “Renaissance painting” and requested that they film their brutality better: “Can someone please tell the freedom fighters in Palestine to flip their phones and film horizontal.”

Meanwhile, even though a letter signed by members of 34 Harvard student groups blamed Israel entirely for Hamas’s attacks, Harvard initially had no official response to last weekend’s terroristic acts by Hamas. Given Harvard’s quick response declaring what “justice” is with regard to public issues, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, the two-day silence led former Harvard president Larry Summers to lament that “Harvard is being defined by the morally unconscionable statement apparently coming from two dozen student groups blaming all the violence on Israel.” He added, “I am sickened. I cannot fathom the Administration’s failure to disassociate the University and condemn this statement.”

Harvard president Claudine Gay finally responded on Tuesday, October 10, with a brief letter that at least had some clarity: “I condemn the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. Such inhumanity is abhorrent, whatever one’s individual views of the origins of longstanding conflicts in the region.” But despite declaring that student groups can’t speak for Harvard, it was odd that her statement was simply a first-person one—“I condemn.” Three days after that brief letter, Gay released a video message in which she finally clearly declared that “our university” condemns terrorism, while adding that those approving of the Hamas actions wouldn’t face any action. “Our university embraces a commitment to free expression,” she intoned. “That commitment extends even to views that many of us find objectionable, even outrageous. We do not punish or sanction people for expressing such views.”

This commitment to “free expression” is pretty selective. As Zachary Marschall observed at Campus Reform, in 2018 Harvard investigated one professor for “microaggressions,” whether “verbal or non-verbal.” And in 2022 Harvard students were instructed in one university training session that “failing to use a person’s preferred pronouns could be a violation of the university’s sexual misconduct and harassment policies.” That these are not simply isolated deviations can be shown by the fact that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) rated Harvard as the worst school in the country for free expression, with a score of zero out of a possible 100 points.

That Harvard suddenly discovered this commitment to free expression only when their students were caught supporting terrorists is a pretty good sign that they didn’t discover it at all. As Steve McGuire of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni posted on X (Twitter): “I don’t buy it at all. She’s just trying to save face.”

When the smoke clears, and probably before, Harvard will be doing exactly what it’s been doing all along. They are tolerating the support of terrorism and antisemitism while teaching students to call Republicans “Nazis.” As always, the Babylon Bee summed up the situation perfectly with its headline, “Harvard Student Leaves Lecture On Microaggressions To Attend ‘Kill The Jews’ Rally.”

Of course, Harvard isn’t alone in selective commitments to free speech and defense of basic human rights. Yale “American Studies” professor (there is some joke in there) Zareena Grewal, who describes herself as a “radical Muslim,” was posting in support of the Hamas attacks. She defended the murder of Israeli civilians by saying, “Settlers are not civilians.” Grewal was herself one of the instigators trying to get professors Nicholas and Erika Christakis fired for defending free speech a couple years ago. At Stanford, an “instructor had Jewish students raise their hands, made them move away from their belongings before saying his point was to show what Jewish people were doing to Palestinians.” According to some students, the instructor also belittled the Holocaust by suggesting that Israel had killed more Palestinians. At least Stanford officials had the good sense to stop the instructor from teaching and investigate.

It seems impossible that such cautious and quiet responses would have been given to professors who dissented on the guilt of Derek Chauvin or the goodness of George Floyd.

The reality is that these elite institutions have too much power and too much influence. They set the tone for the country and for other academic institutions. It has been said that intellectual serenity means not giving a damn what they’re doing at Harvard. We might say that national serenity is only possible if the influence and prestige of these institutions are downgraded: more people need to stop giving a damn.

The first group who can help change things is parents. First of all, they can simply stop sending their children to such institutions. But for those who have done so, they can keep their eyes on the places their children are attending. If their students are sane, they can pass on to their parents what is happening on campus so that more light can be shined on the dysfunction.

Alumni have an important role to play in fighting back against their institutions. Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer and his wife, Batia, quit an alumni executive board in protest of Harvard’s behavior. They made clear that the problem was Harvard’s response rather than the foolish student groups.

Billionaire hedge fund manager and Harvard alumnus Bill Ackman was even more direct. He demanded a list of all the students who had signed the letter blaming Israel so that he could refuse ever to hire them. Given the campus cancel culture discussed above, this seems a poetic form of justice.

Both the Ofers and Ackman are on to something. The key, however, is to make sure all alumni bothered by these places stop donating. Unfortunately, the haze of sentimental memory often overrides the knowledge that one’s soul mother (“alma mater”) is now a heartless woke harpie. Money is the only thing that finally counts in the world of university administrators.

There is a great deal to be done by those in power, however, to counteract the exaggerated cache of top-tier universities. Justice Clarence Thomas has long done his part by hiring Supreme Court clerks from a variety of schools and not just the Ivies and other elite universities. He refuses to allow the term “TTT” (“Third-Tier Toilet”) to be used about them. More justices could follow his lead.

But perhaps the biggest thing those in power can do is to consider taxing the endowments at these universities. As Richard Vedder and Justin Strehle argued in 2017, when Republicans were proposing to tax these endowments, the argument against taxing these enormous sums of money was based on a supposed beneficial social influence: “We usually subsidize universities because they have what economists call ‘positive externalities’ –good spillover effects that benefit all of society. But campus riots and other campus pathologies can lead to negative externalities –bad societal spillover effects.”

What we are seeing today are very bad spillover effects. Elite universities provide soft landing pads for those useful to the Democratic party and laboratories for leftist ideas and advocacy. And they need to be stopped. Elite American education has been sliding for at least 75 years—William F. Buckley’s indictment of his alma mater, God and Man at Yale, was published in 1951. Today his complaints would seem quaint.

Alumni and parents should not be mesmerized by loving memories, beautiful pictures, and the prospect of worldly success. Until they show signs of real change, these institutions shouldn’t get either money or the souls of students. And if the GOP can get its act together, it ought to go back to the topic of taxing endowments. Democrats always profess love of taxing wealthy institutions. On this one, let’s give them what they want.

David P. Deavel teaches at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, and serves as a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. Follow him on X (Twitter) @davidpdeavel.

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PaulE
PaulE
1 month ago

This article is about 50 years too late, when there was still some semblance of actual free speech and open exchange and discussion of competing ideals. Our colleges and universities have been hotbeds for the dissemination of Marxist ideology for decades now, so I hope this isn’t the first time the author has realized what exactly being taught at these institutions.

Millions of Americans have been successfully indoctrinated by this filth and we see the results daily in terms of how easily the population just accepts more and more leftist ideals with either open arms or no pushback.

As for curtailing donations to these institutions, that too should have ceased decades ago as well. None of the so-called Ivy League universities needs funding from the alumni or parents. Most have university endowments measured in multiple billions of dollars and could easily self-fund all operations for several decades to come. Again, a solution that is half a century too late.

Gregory Sims
Gregory Sims
1 month ago

Okay so now it’s okay to have a free expression, but not conservative opinions

Kathleen Vespa
Kathleen Vespa
1 month ago

I also believe that all news media should stop interviewing and taking video of these horrific terrorist groups living in my America. Those news outlets are giving them exactly what they want; attention and therefore credence.

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

Harvards a s h i t h o l e, has been for over fifty years.

Harry
Harry
1 month ago

DOWNGRADE???

Stop financing them!!!!!!

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 month ago

Universities exist to teach. They are not political forces. US News has been the key arbiter of college rankings for the past 30 years. They should step back and state in their rankings which schools are contaminated by political views. Students in the 18-22 age range are not capable of informed political thought and should be ignored. When I was in college in the 60’s we did not engage in book-burning which was very popular. We were busting our butts to pass our courses which is the way it should be.
Unfortunately, college is now a piece of cake and provides worthless degrees that any baboon can “earn”. Students want stimulation and are not finding it in the classroom. A college degree today is a big “so what . Do you know anything ?”

Lieutenant Beale
Lieutenant Beale
1 month ago

You need to get your money back from “Harvard”.
That institution clearly failed you because you write worse than a high school dropout.
So, until you get reimbursed from “Harvard”, get a job.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 month ago

Reuse Elite Colleges for:
Housing
Land for farming
storage
TV & Movie productions
Lab
Busines seedbed
Events Center
Arts Gallery
Voc & Tech Ed Center

len
len
1 month ago

Can one make make an assumption that Harvard produces hate and terrorist minded students? Save the world and close this college. Please parents don’t send your kids to this corrupt place.

Harry
Harry
1 month ago

The reason nobody trust lawyers anymore!

Myrna
Myrna
1 month ago

Most of all don’t send our precious young people to any of these formerly respected institutions. When they show their true colors, believe them. Don’t excuse any of it.
Secondly, even graduates should not support these schools. They have changed. We may be sorry for them, but send no money.

Casey C Matt
Casey C Matt
1 month ago

Legislation should be passed to cease even a single US Govt penny being able to be provided in any form to institutions like Harvard until ALL speech is allowed without even a hint of hindrance. If groups of juvenile entitled little “sh++s want to celebrate the recent actions of HAMAS…..the First Amendment provides that right. If someone like Glen Greenwald or any other conservative wants to speak on any campus having anything to do with Federal Funds,it should be mandated that they get to express their views on any variety of topics as well. Every citizen in this country has the right to express themselves openly no matter how much it might “micro agress” some sniveling day care kid.
So yeah, let these people say what they wish without recourse but enforce the rights of everyone else to also say what they wish without recourse. If not……..immediate cut off with the affected party able to accelerate the matter to the courts

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
1 month ago

of course it is. it has been for a long time. Berkeley, harvard, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, Purdue, and many others have long since moved from academic strength to political indoctrination.

Go ahead and say prove it! ok! Bud light.

the CEO and marketing director were both Harvard graduates who hired other harvard graduates. not only were they so stupid as to cause a disaster with their initial actions but every action after the fact just dug them a deeper hole.
They bud light management is so bad at every aspect of business management that they were incapable of making a beer commercial. then, once having recognized the screwed the pouch they put their harvard indoctrination into play and continued to be fake social virtue ahead of the companies needs.
We all know that not only could we create a memorable beer chimerical, but everyone we know could do it. let me keep the vehicles I use in the commercial and I will build the commercial for free. I’d want to keep the female models, but they probably won’t let me!!
Harvard graduates can not do what you and I would have no problem doing.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

So are these same outraged CEOs also boycotting their own companies if they were dumb enough to virtue signal donate to Black Lies Matters? Actually, abhorrent as they are, I’m against these “blacklists” ala Red Scare tactics. If we censured everyone who is STUPID in America, half the country would be unemployed!

Jack
Jack
1 month ago

Except for the blacklisting, Joe McCarthy was right. The thing is the power structure in America has evolved into something even he couldn’t have dreamed up. It costs money to support big anything, i.e. universities, manufacturers, lobbyists, political advisors, etc. That’s how clintons, pelosies, obamas, bidens et. al. survived. . .huge donations and blank checks from the American taxpayer. Politicians have become kids with an ant farm. Plan accordingly.

Bob L
Bob L
1 month ago

The prestigious name of an institution and how outrageously expensive it is to attend doesn’t guarantee a better education than you can get from a lesser known and less expensive school.

Melinda
Melinda
1 month ago

They are no longer elite, they are pond scum.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

Are you sure? Maybe you just THINK you solved a Harvard calculus problem written on a VAP board while swabbing the halls because you watched “Good Will Hunting” last night.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

It’s hard to hang a map on a basement wall not treated with Thompson’s Waterseal.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

Nobody is paying your tuition. Not even your parents… and your dad’s child support doesn’t include it.

Veteran
Veteran
1 month ago

Downgrade? How about decertify? When academic standards like science is the pursuit of truth by questioning every theory, that no statement is exempt from being questioned, that science is never “settled”, that free discourse and discussion requires to hear all voices, and to let those with opposing views air their opinions and make their case, before one can attempt to refute it, and only with solid evidence, that those who are scared of opposing views, free speech, equality, and facts, and who need a “safe space” without opposing views, or criticism probably should not pursue science, or even the arts, when all of these things are neglected to be taught it is safe to say that college is no longer delivering higher learning, but merely indoctrination, and propaganda. It is not in the college’s purview to teach kids what to think but how to think, analyze, evaluate, and utilize facts, evidence, and knowledge for their chosen field of endeavors. It is sad but none of our name brand universities still follow the tenets of higher education, it is time to decertify the lot of them! Maybe then the point of astronomic admissions, and tuition fees, as well as the strange practice of “tenure” whether a professor is actually successfully teaching, or not can also be addressed at that time. As is, none of our academic system of higher education make the grade, they should all be decertified, and forced to close, or reform to re-open under new management, new names, and with curricula that are employment centered. The basements of parents, Uber taxis, and coffee shops are full of baristas, driver’s, and video game experts with MBAs, and political science majors with minors in “Ancient Chinese Feminist Studies” with their thesis about “Discrimination in the strategy of the game play of GO based on the theories of Sun Tzu, and Chairman Mao.” It is time we produce graduates again who can earn a living for themselves, their family, and contribute positively to society at large, and not just the lines at the unemployment office.

Veteran
Veteran
1 month ago

Top of the bottom, it doesn’t get much lower in morals, and performance as recent graduates public utterances have displayed. All our Ivy League institutions have turned into Poison Ivy, with toxic professors, and CRT, and Marxist driven toxic agendas. The lives, and employment status, or prospects thereof of the products of their indoctrination are no longer their concern, as long as they can please their political cronies, and garner federal grants, and aid. They are no longer selling education, just a brand name on their goat skin that adorns an office wall, that’s why teaching is no longer En Vogue at Harvard and Yale. As an alumni, I have stopped supporting my alma mater a good long while ago, when they revealed a mural that displayed my home state as part of Mexico proper, with the name “Aztlan” scribbled all over it. You want to support La Raza, and the annexation of the Western United States by Mexico, do it with your own money, not my donations, or my taxpayer money!

Veteran
Veteran
1 month ago

Sad!

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 month ago

Down grade? Boarded shut will not work The corrosive poisonous ideology has spread and taken a root

Kathy
Kathy
1 month ago

I think student loans should start coming from the institutions where these kids want to attend. No more federal gov’t loans that Democrat Presidents can forgive by fiat!

Marta V Alvarez
Marta V Alvarez
1 month ago

Great article. The proposal to downgrade these Communist ideology infected universities is a sound proposal that should be put in practice as soon as possible. Some people say it’s too late, but the more people share this view and practice it, the more hope we have.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 month ago

Change their names to the Communist Terrorist Loving institutions who promote and celebrate Terrorist and Braindead education.
Makes sense since their I.Q.’s are that of the Do-do bird.

Jack
Jack
1 month ago

Welll…..good for you! I’m hoping you’ve benefited from the education rather than the endoctrination.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 month ago

Down grade? Boarded shut would not work The corrosive poisonous ideology is already spread and has taken root

David
David
1 month ago

EXCELLENT article , agree 100%.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 month ago

yes the color of the skin and sex is the major requirement Obamas will attest to that can

Louis
Louis
1 month ago

Big deal, but do you know anything? After reading some of your comments I would guess not.

Louis
Louis
1 month ago

You sound more like a teenager than a college grad.

PapaYEC
PapaYEC
1 month ago

Time to cut off all but technical programs.

pete
pete
1 month ago

..you could write another article on why our legal system is such a shambles. It has been well over a century since any SCOTUS justice was educated anywhere except Yale or Harvard. It is absurd to think only these Ivy League Institutions can provide qualified individuals.

Jerry
Jerry
1 month ago

It would be a blessing if the Ivy League were shut down.

Chicago Bill
Chicago Bill
1 month ago

Harvard, Princeton, Yale, et al, a collective cesspool of liberal America hating spoiled trust fund babies. Brainwashed and wet behind the ears.

Nancy
Nancy
1 month ago

Absolutely no tax dollars should fund higher education. Almost all colleges/universities are liberal cesspools.

Harvard
Harvard
1 month ago

“First of all, they can simply stop sending their children to such institutions”

you mean what you are already doing? Lol

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