‘Fair Harvard’: A Modest Proposal - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
‘Fair Harvard’: A Modest Proposal

Two verses of the college song, Fair Harvard, are sung traditionally as the university’s alma mater on entrance and departure from the college. The last lines are:

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 Truth’s current glides by;
Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love,
Till the stock of the Puritans die.

In September 2016, reacting to campus turmoil fueled by racial and identity politics, Harvard President Drew Faust ginned up the dismal Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging. One of the Task Force’s three co-chairs, professor of education and government Danielle S. Allen, said at the time the initiative sought to ensure the idea of “thriving for all” so Harvard students “feel that they belong.”

Now we learn how Task Force deliberations are proceeding. At a three-hour Afternoon of Engagement on Inclusion and Belonging last week, Faust reiterated in her welcoming address: “Diversity, 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.”

The Task Force then announced a competition to revise the college song and replace the final line, Till the stock of the Puritans die. Moreover, it is “inviting submissions for a new musical variant or new performance mode for the alma mater,” explaining what it’s after:

Think of this as an opportunity to help expand the University’s symbolic repertoire.

All genres and performance modes are welcome (choral, spoken word, electronic, hip-hop, etc.). The goal is to affirm what is valuable from the past while also re-inventing that past to meet and speak to the present moment. The inspiration is Hamilton. The point is to use your imagination.

“Let’s see what the community puts out there,” Prof. Allen said to the Boston Globe. “Let’s take old things that we admire, and have some fun with them.”

Does this soigné government professor have any idea what she is proposing? I think she does. I am just guessing, but Prof. Allen’s admiration for religious tradition might be limited, and having fun in her mind might include desacralizing and lampooning Harvard’s deepest roots. Think of this as an opportunity to help expand the University’s symbolic repertoire. What does this mean? Let’s give the Puritans some hip-hop or emo glam? Maybe queer up Cotton Mather?

So here’s for the Task Force a modest proposal, an easy, quick, not symbolic solution to end this appalling charade called a “competition.”

Just change the first word of the last line from ‘Till’ to ‘Once,’ so the alma mater reads:

Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love,
Once the stock of the Puritans die.

After all, that’s what the Task Force wants, isn’t it?

Sing it loud and proud. It’s the Harvard of the future.

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