Illiteracy, innumeracy, low standards, grade inflation — signs of a general failure of education, sure, and of public schooling in particular. But for the worst failing, look no further than Harvard University.
The Ivy League school just caved to a student mob.
“Harvard said on Saturday that a law professor who has represented Harvey Weinstein would not continue as faculty dean of an undergraduate house after his term ends on June 30,” explains Kate Taylor at the New York Times, “bowing to months of pressure from students.”
The lawyer in question, Professor Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr., has served with his wife, law school lecturer Stephanie Robinson, at one of Harvard’s residential houses for undergraduate students.
Now, the African-American couple has not been fired from faculty. Just as deans. No great tragedy, if the official Harvard statement be true — that there were multiple reasons for not renewing their contracts.
But the context: pressure from students who expressed horror — “trauma-inducing”! — at Sullivan’s legal defense of the former Mirimax mogul accused of numerous sex crimes.
We expect lawyers to defend even the worst criminals. Everyone is entitled to a legal defense. It’s sad that not only do some students fail to accept this but also that this crimson-colored college plays along with their uncivilized complaint. Harvard has, in effect, denied one legal foundation of a free society.
Remember that the “common school movement” for government schools was started to inculcate republican values. Horace Mann’s great big excuse for government control and taxpayer funding of schools was to promote civilized American liberties.
Schools, generally, have failed. And Harvard has just accepted their worst failure as the new passing grade.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.