Harvard Students Demand That Trump Officials Be Preemptively Barred From Campus

We have been discussing the call for blacklists and the campaign of harassment against Trump supporters, lawyers, and officials after the election. Now Harvard students are asking for the university to establish a preemptive bar on former Trump officials and consultants from entering the campus until they are reviewed and vetted. Rather than see universities as an opportunity for dialogue and understanding of our deep divisions, the students seem to be following the lead of Democratic leaders like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) who are calling for lists of anyone “complicit” with the Trump Administration.  The students demand that any Trump officials be barred pending a review of their record to “hold them fully accountable for that complicity.”

Harvard University students wrote a letter addressed to Harvard president Lawrence Bacow and other leadership calling for the action against Trump consultants and officials. It acknowledges the potential impact on free speech but declares:

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.

Notably, Harvard regularly hears from academics, including former foreign government officials, from some of the most repressive nations on Earth. I support such engagement because it allows for a full and robust discussion of core issues and policies.  Yet, the students are demanding a special rule for Trump officials.

The controversy reminds me of the New York Times denouncing the publication of a column from Sen. Tom Cotton while publishing the views of dictators and their surrogates. The New York Times on published an opinion column by Regina Ipthe Hong Kong official widely denounced as “Beijing’s enforcer.” Ip declared “Hong Kong is part of China” and dismissed the protesters fighting for freedom in their city.  I had no objection to the publishing of the column. Ip is a major figure in Hong Kong and, despite her support for authoritarian rule and crushing dissent, there is a value to having such views as part of the public debate. Rather, my concern is that the New York Times was denounced by many of us for its  cringing apology after publishing a column by Sen. Cotton and promising not to publish future such columns. Ip recently mocked the protests as every pro-democracy legislator left the Hong Kong legislature.

The point is not to call for blocking a wider array of views but embracing the value of having the free exchange of all views. Trump officials were supported by roughly half of this country. The last election resulted in the Republicans picking up seats in the House and likely holding the election. Indeed, President-elect Joe Biden carried a series of states with a narrow margin.  Yet, the students want any Trump consultant or official to face an immediate, preemptive hold depending review of their background.

What is most disturbing is that some faculty support this effort. The letter disregards the many fellow citizens — and presumably students — who supported the Trump Administration. While professors have systemically reduced conservatives and libertarians on top faculties to a small minority, they continue to maintain that they are not showing the same bias against conservative or libertarian students. Yet, these letters isolate not just Trump officials, but Trump supporters who are part of the Harvard community.

There is an alternative: free speech. Our universities can play a key role in healing this country rather than fostering further divisions. We can use our schools to allow for both sides to meet and ideally to better understand each other. We can continue to disagree while gathering around a common faith in free speech as a shared value. Instead of holding people “accountable for their complicity,” we can hold ourselves to a higher burden of mutual respect and civility.

82 thoughts on “Harvard Students Demand That Trump Officials Be Preemptively Barred From Campus”

  1. Whenever a totalitarian regime takes power, they start making “lists” of enemies. Then comes the ostracism and public shaming. Then come the firing squads, “re-education” camps and gulags. Happens every time. Lenin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Mao, Chavez. etc., etc. AOC is leading the way.

    1. And Trump calling for the arrest of all his political enemies is what exactly? Sharing “love” letters with one of the most cruel dictators on the planet is what? Calling everyone of our greatest allies nasty names and not saying one bad word of his buddy Putin is what? Wanna be dictators of Turkey, Philippines, are just great in the Dear Leaders eyes is what? I could go on and on but I understand you have no relationship with the truth.

    2. Pot Pot sent the useless bureaucratic parasites out to dig irrigation ditches and learn agriculture. Malingering was not tolerated.

      Yes, lists. Useless university bureaucrats are at the top of many lists. So are a lot of other incompetent and parasitical bureaucrats.

      Reeducation in useful vocational skills, will be learned quickly, with the right inducements. Such as wages in the form of food.

      Imagine Jack Dorsey having to put in an honest day’s work with a shovel. hmmm, society would benefit

      Saloth Sar

    3. How would you describe the Deep Deep State taking John F. Kennedy’s head off in 1963, a garden party, cuz it just processed a totally “rigged” election against the duly elected President Donald J. Trump?
      _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

      The ONGOING Obama Coup D’etat in America is the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious crime in American political history.

      The co-conspirators are:

      Kevin Clinesmith, Bill Taylor, Eric Ciaramella, Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Andrew Weissmann,

      James Comey, Christopher Wray, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Laycock, Kadzic,

      Sally Yates, James Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell,

      Sir Richard Dearlove, Christopher Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud,

      Alexander Downer, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Azra Turk, Kerry, Hillary,

      Huma, Mills, Brennan, Gina Haspel, Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power, Lynch,

      Rice, Jarrett, Holder, Brazile, Sessions (patsy), Nadler, Schiff, Pelosi, Obama,

      Joe Biden, James E. Boasberg et al.

  2. Turley’s worried he won’t be invited to Harvard to speak. And he should be, anyone that has cherry-picked and picked nat shit out of pepper to enable Trump should be called out for their words and actions. Trump will be proven to be the greatest con-man and the worst POTUS this nation has ever seen.

  3. Here we go again: Turley trying to normalize the absurdly abnormal: Trump and his administration, the most-corrupt, anti-American in history, are not normal, and should be scrutinized in advance of any appearance on a college campus. Trump cheated to get into the White House, and his “presidency” has been a disaster. The students did not demand a ban: they demanded a review first, which is not unreasonable, given Trump’s track record. Let’s review a few points: caging of migrants, and separating their children to serve as a deterrent for any other south of the border migrants seeking asylum, calling Mexicans “rapists”, “murderers”, and “criminals”, praise of White Supremacists, and a ban on Muslims solely because they are Muslims. Then, there’s pandering to Putin, a murderous dictator, trying to leverage aid to Ukraine in exchange for ginning up lies about Biden, and the endless lying. Trump refuses to concede, and is now trying to invalidate the votes of Michiganders because his fragile ego cannot handle rejection. He had his surrogate, Giuliani, conduct a news conference that, at best, was fodder for late night television jokes. Then, there’s the new daily record of deaths and infections from a badly-botched pandemic that Trump and his administration lied about from the beginning. Then, there’s the successful economy that Trump singlehandedly destroyed by mishandling the pandemic and refusing to advocate for public health measures to stop the spread. That’s just some of the failures and abnormalities of Trump and his administration. This will go down in history as the worse administration in US history.

    What would anyone from this administration have to offer to college students, anyway? Lessons in how to lie, how to bully people to get your way, how to bask in vainglory by adoring fans who share your racist and xenophobic perspective? No one in his administration has any capacity to offer words of wisdom, learned guidance, experience in successfully handling foreign or domestic affairs, expounding on the meaning of patriotism, American philosophy and values or hope for the future. This administration is not just a massive failure–most of what it has done is un-American and contrary to American values. The issue isn’t a difference of opinion–it is a lack of values, promotion of xenophobia, racism and misogyny, about which there are no valid debate points. Yes, anyone from this administration should be vetted for their conduct and public statements before appearing on campus. This isn’t censorship, either–it’s common sense.

    1. Indeed! I’m not sure why a request for a review turned into a ban. Was that poetic license, Professor? It’s misleading but I’m not surprised.

    2. Better yet, maybe the denizens of Harvard will self-isolate and spare the rest of us from their chronic idiocy. I’m sure they’d be happy to have you join their Soviet, Natacha.

  4. No more Harvard. Put em in jail!
    They are stupid. They are frail!
    Went in dumb. Come out dumb too.
    Hustling round some town that’s like a zoo!

  5. Seize the endowments! Instead of government bailing out student loans on the backs of taxpayers, make the universities forgive the loans. Make the leftist indoctrination centers pay students back for their useless degrees.

    1. Professor Turley,

      Do you think there is EVER an instance where inviting a person to speak would be inappropriate: For example, 1) Richard Spencer? 2) David Duke? 3) Someone who believes the earth is less than 6,000 years old? That would include 1 in 4 Americans, btw.

      1. Do you think there is EVER an instance where inviting a person to speak would be inappropriate:

        When you lack a reasonable counter-argument.

  6. Biden will never be “my president”. My wife and I, after 50 years of marriage, are no longer proud to be Americans. Voter fraud was real, a little or a lot is wrong and cast doubt on the entire process. Why bother to vote when it won’t be properly counted? When we see Democrats like Andrew Yang encouraging people to take advantage of the Georgia voter requirements and temporarily move to Georgia in order to throw the Senate race, we are sickened beyond the pale. This isn’t the America we grew up in. This is an example of the most UnAmerican politics we have seen, an indicator of how rotten people that pretend to be Americans have become.

    1. Amen, brother. Biden is an incompetent disgrace. #NotMyPresident. Trojan Horse Kamala Harris will NEVER become president, either. You want a revolution, you’ve got one.

    2. Wow, thou at deed into the Trump cult. We are Americans who disagree with fascists like Trump and his enablers. Our grandparents fought a war against people like Trump and his Republican enablers. There is nothing unAmerican about that.

      There was no massive voter fraud. The law suits have all been withdrawn or dismissed.

      1. First the Democrat Mantra was ” there is no evidence of voter fraud”. Now it is “there is no massive voter fraud”. How can you look at yourself in the mirror? You have to be a special kind of stupid to listen to these people. Any fraud in our voting system is a serious problem and a threat to our democracy and the Republic.

        1. Roger, 150 million votes were cast. Guaranteed mistakes were made and many of those could be alleged as fraud, but almost always turn out not to have been. The penalties are severe – I think a year in jail and up to $10k per incident. Massive fraud as alleged is much more unlikely, and just like Guiliani said, the crooks would make mistakes. The head of DHS Cybersecurity along with 59 state level overseers say it was the most secure election ever and there is no evidence of the kind of tampering necessary to pull that off. Specifically, there is no server in Germany controlling all this.

          The 2016 election was much closer, and of course this election featured wins by many Republicans. Are we throwing all that out?

          Lastly, in Pennsylvania, Biden outperformed Hillary across the state, in both red and blue districts by 3-4%. You were that didn’t happen? Philly where he underperformed her by 3.5%. Now how do you rig an election by illegal votes in the big bad urban machine precincts without more votes showing up? How do you get red districts to have more Biden votes? This makes no sense. By the way, in MIlwaukee, the Wisconsin equivalent of Philly, there were 248k votes cast in 2016. In 2020 there were 248k votes cast. Hellloooo!

        2. Roger: there is NO evidence of voter fraud. Period. Full stop. There are glitches and minor inconsistencies. These do not amount to fraud. They have happened in every election, but are not evidence or proof of fraud. Trump lost. Get over it.

      2. Justice Holmes…. So in your opinion it’s just dandy that Andrew Yang and others like him are willing to circumvent the fair election process and decide for the honest citizens of the State of Georgia who shall represent them in the Senate? And you have the nerve to call me a cult member? You are the one in the cult, willing to sacrifice your own integrity in furtherance of your pipe dreams.
        You can take away everything a man owns, but you can never take away his integrity, only the man can do that to himself, as you so clearly have illustrated.

    3. Dear Calvin,
      Continue to be proud to be an American, if by that you mean you continue to bear allegiance to the founding principles. As you correctly note, people who do not are unAmerican…although they may be legal residents of the United States. Big difference.

    4. Calvin: voter fraud was NOT real–you are being lied to. If there was proof, they would produce it by now, but they can’t, because there isn’t any. When the head of CISA confirmed that the election was the most-secure in history, and there is no evidence of fraud, ballot stuffing or any other intentional misconduct, so Trump fires him. Why do you think court after court has thrown out lawsuit after lawsuit? Why do you think Trump keeps on lying–so that people like you will doubt the integrity of the election. Mission accomplished! Where did you get the idea that votes weren’t “properly counted”?

      Consider this: Trump was projected to lose, and he did. He lost the popular vote in 2016, and he has never been able to obtain even a 50% approval rating. These are facts. He has botched the pandemic, so that the US has the highest per capita infection and death rates in the world. The economy is in shambles, and US relations with allies are shot to hell. Why would you think that he would get elected despite all of this?

  7. The real question is just who the “Harvard Students” are that sent the letter. I doubt that it represents the entire student body but is the view of certain special interests on the campus. I suspect that few of the students wouldn’t even be at Harvard were it not for “affirmative action.”

  8. stupid litte snow flakes hiding on their safe spots so they don’t have to face reality..? What a contemptible group.

  9. While I am not comfortable with what is happening, it is part of the process. These student have the right to demand. Harvard has the right to listen and choose their path forward.

    At some point, this too shall end.

  10. I have a friend with a Harvard degree. We will remain friends BUT I will tell him that this episode further diminishes the value of his Harvard credentials. He’ll shrug me off. But I suspect my comment will sting; and I hope he’ll give feedback to Harvard via the Alumni Assoc. Harvard values it’s reputation far, far more than it values constitutional rights. Harvard grads often depend on their Harvard credentials as a (significant?) source of their self-esteem. I encourage all Turley readers to talk to their Harvard buddies and let them know how silly and infantile Harvard seems right now.

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