HomeTop StoriesHarvard Leaders No Longer Comment on Issues Not Related to 'Core Function'

Harvard Leaders No Longer Comment on Issues Not Related to ‘Core Function’

Harvard will no longer comment on issues unrelated to its institution’s “core function,” the university announced Tuesday, a decision made after months of unrest over the war between Israel and Hamas.

The recommendation that the school not comment on controversial public issues came from a report led by the “Institutional Voice Working Group” that the school established in April.

The report “reasons that when the University ‘speaks officially about matters outside its institutional area of ​​expertise’, such statements risk jeopardizing the ‘integrity and credibility’ of our academic mission and could undermine open inquiry and academic freedom by ‘making it more difficult to allow some members of the community to express their views if they differ from the university’s official position,” the school said in its statement announcing the report and new policy.

“We have accepted the faculty working group’s report and recommendations, which have also been endorsed by the Harvard Corporation,” the statement read.

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The new policy will impact university administrators, school deans and department chairs.

It comes after the university has faced multiple controversies this year related to the war between Israel and Hamas, from the former president’s resignation to the pro-Palestinian encampment.

“There will be instances where reasonable people disagree about whether or not a particular issue is directly related to the core function of the university,” the report said. “The university’s policy in such situations should be to avoid the mistake and avoid official statements.”

This tactic echoes decades-old debates about “institutional neutrality” in academia. Institutional neutrality states that universities should not take public positions on today’s controversial issues, so as not to influence open debate on their campuses.

But Harvard does not want to be labeled as neutral with this position.

“The purpose of the university is the pursuit of the truth. In that endeavor, the university as an institution can never be neutral, because we believe in the value of seeking the truth through open inquiry, debate and weighing of evidence, as opposed to mere assertions or unwarranted beliefs,” the opening statement reads. of the report. .

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