A new petition has surfaced at Harvard University in the form of an open letter to President Lawrence Bacow and Harvard University deans and leadership calling on the university to ban any Trump administration officials from speaking, attending, or teaching at Harvard. Apparently Harvard University has a tradition allowing a temporary home for members of the outgoing administration and a portion of the student body is certainly not on board with that idea coming into play at Harvard with the Trump administration. The open letter is the student body's way of expressing to the university how they feel about President Trump and anyone associated with him and this is the open letter/petition asking students to back it with their signatures, here:
Dear President Bacow and Harvard University Deans and Leadership,
After every presidential election, Harvard becomes a temporary home for officials from the outgoing administration. These bipartisan government connections allow the school to serve its student community better and to maintain ties, influence, and status with any administration.
We write to you now, in advance of the conclusion of the Trump administration, extremely concerned about the impact of the actions of this administration on fundamental democratic institutions. Most notably, in actively undermining faith in the electoral process and in refusing to concede the 2020 election, the Trump administration has trampled norms of free and fair elections and peaceful transfer of power that have defined our republic for over two centuries. These norms are crucial to the global well-being of democratic institutions. A complete disregard for the truth is a defining feature of many decisions made by this administration. That alone should be enough to draw a line.
We hold a variety of political views, but these actions alarm all of us invested in the future of democracy in the United States and abroad. We worry that in following tradition and inviting members of the Trump administration to Harvard, the school would be legitimizing this subversion of democratic principles that up to now had been universally accepted by both political parties. That is why today we are asking you to set up a system of accountability for high-level political appointees and Trump administration consultants before they are invited as fellows or to teach or speak on campus. These accountability guidelines should be publicly shared with students by the end of the calendar year.
Harvard should stand firm with its stated commitments to a just Harvard and a just world, to free and honest inquiry in the unfettered pursuit of truth, the right to vote, a free and independent press, checks and balances, the peaceful transfer of power, and the rule of law with equal justice for all. We believe that Trump administration officials who failed to live up to that standard have disqualified themselves from being hired by the school as faculty or fellows.
Part of ensuring the survival of our democracy means calling to account those who seek to harm it. That is why we are also requesting the school fully vet speakers for their role in undermining these commitments and hold them fully accountable for that complicity. The Institute of Politics at HKS, or any other center, has the responsibility to boldly confront Trump administration alumni invited to speak at Harvard about their collaboration or passive acceptance of this attack on truth and fundamental democratic principles -- or not invite them to speak at all.
We acknowledge this situation is nuanced as many appointees and career officials chose to join this administration to pursue the public good in spite of these norm violations. Others might claim to have upheld these norms from within. We are simply asking the school to create and share with students transparent guidelines of accountability that ensure its full commitment to the principles American democracy is built upon.
We remain fully committed to free speech and debate of difficult subjects -- especially the damage being done to democratic governance around the world. We do not believe, however, that individuals who engage in this behavior should be legitimized or rewarded by the university. An institution dedicated to the fostering of good democratic government should remain apart from those who were willing to bring it down for their own benefit.
Degree Program and Graduation Year or Professional Title*
Harvard Affiliation* - check one
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS)
Graduate School of Design (GSD)
Harvard Business School (HBS)
Harvard Divinity School (HDS)
Harvard Extension School (HES)
Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE)
Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)
Harvard Law School (HLS)
Harvard Medical School (HMS)
Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM)
Harvard School of Public Health
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)
Email (for news on response from the school)*
These kids did not necessarily get this idea on their own either. There have been Democrats who have pushed for making "Blacklist" type lists of people who helped President Trump during his time in office. Democrats include AOC, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Emily Abrams, a former aide to Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg, and Michael Simon, who worked for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. In part, they get this idea from an organization that was formed called The Trump Accountability Project, whose goal is this:
The Trump Accountability Project was started because we believe restoring democratic norms are vital to protecting America's future. A critical part of making sure the nation never finds itself in this position again is to make sure those members of the Trump administration responsible for loosening the guardrails of our democracy are not rewarded with book deals, TV contracts, or six-figure salaries in the private sector based on that experience. Ultimately, however, the goal of the project was to play a part in restoring the soul of the nation, and we'll follow President-elect Biden's lead to get us there.
Accordingly, in the spirit of the President-elect's call to build a more united country, this project will no longer be active.
What do you make of this petition and furthermore the Trump Accountability Project. I personally think it's a bit ridiculous. What ever happened to difference of opinion and equal opportunity? I understand that we have the Equal Opportunity Employment law but I'm not so sure that applies to political affiliation...? You would think so right? What I'm inclined to believe is that say a member of the Trump administration was denied a position they were qualified for solely based on their association with President Trump, that member would have a case on their hands, am I right? I'm not a legal expert so please enlighten me in the comments on that further...but this does sadden me that people are so politically charged with their differing opinions that they would deny people work, deny them a livelihood, a place in the community. The idea that we cannot tolerate one another anymore saddens me and I think it needs to stop. How do we stop this? By knocking down BS like this. Long gone are the lessons of civility and does President Trump have a role to play in that? Yes he does. He certainly takes some of the blame but we also must claim responsibility for the way we treat one another. Not to sound like a hippie dippie here but there needs to come a time where you can look at a Republican and not immediately have a prejudiced opinion of them at they are a "racist" or "White Supremacist". Then on the other hand there needs to come a time when you look at a Democrat and not immediately think they have a "mental illness" because they are liberal thinking in their opinions. It's not even the political divide in nature, it's the insults, it's the prejudice, it's the ignorance that needs to end and until we can all show a sliver of open-mindedness or try and put ourselves in that other's shoes, or maybe not even do that but just respect difference of opinion, we will continue to live under this cloud of negativity and separation among one another. I for one do not think that's healthy and people need to get out of their own way. Maybe I'm the only one who can comfortably disagree with someone else politically and yet still consider them a friend. Where do go from here? Certainly not down the path of shunning a certain group, in this case Trump administration officials or those that helped him in some way, out of society.