Harvard University is currently holding a competition to rewrite the last line of the school song to make it more inclusive. To do so, entrants must replace the offending word, “Puritans,” who founded the university, with something more palatable for a modern campus.
The contest is the brainchild of Harvard’s Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging who want any vestiges of the past erased to soothe the fragile minds of today’s college student. The New York Times has the story:
For decades, Harvard students and alumni have sung an alma mater that calls on them to be heralds of light and bearers of love “till the stock of the Puritans die.”
University officials teach the refrain to freshmen on arrival and sing it again when the students graduate years later.
But this week, a university steeped in tradition said the time had come for a change.
To affirm Harvard’s commitment to inclusion in a time when college campuses are routinely finding themselves at the center of national debates on race and identity, university officials said they are seeking suggested rewrites of that disquieting final line. The contest is open only to members of the Harvard community.
The line about Puritans concludes a sentence that is “an exhortation to pursue the truth until a certain endpoint,” said Danielle S. Allen, a professor and political philosopher on the Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging, which launched the competition.
Harvard’s motto is “Veritas,” Latin for “truth,” she noted, adding, “there shouldn’t be any endpoint to the pursuit of truth, nor should we imply that the pursuit of truth is for any particular ethnic group.”
But since Christians aren’t an ethnic group, what Allen means is, they can go to the back of the bus.
Here is the “offense” in full context, written by Samuel Gilman, Class of 1811:
Fair Harvard! we join in thy Jubilee throng,
And with blessings surrender thee o’er
By these Festival-rites, from the Age that is past,
To the Age that is waiting before.
O Relic and Type of our ancestors’ worth,
That hast long kept their memory warm,
First flow’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 Truth’s current glides by,
Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love,
Till the stock of the Puritans die.
For a great take on this political correctness run amok, read the Never Yet Melted blog:
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… and those groups of students are more unruly, more obsessed with group identity and historical grievances, more self-entitled than ever…
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?
H/T American Power