Harvard’s faculty of arts and sciences launch probe into free speech guidelines
The Undergraduate Council at Harvard University has demanded a faculty review of the school’s guidelines on free speech following their meeting on Sunday night.
The act, which was one of three proposed after the meeting, urges the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) to update their Free Speech Guidelines, which were created in 1990.
The guidelines stated: ‘Free speech is uniquely important to the University because we are a community committed to reason and rational discourse.
‘Free interchange of ideas is vital for our primary function of discovering and disseminating ideas through research, teaching and learning. Curtailment of free speech undercuts the intellectual freedom that defines our purpose.’
The Undergraduate Council (UC) at Harvard University has demanded a faculty review of the school’s guidelines on free speech following their meeting on Sunday night. The act, which was one of three proposed after the meeting, proposed that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) update their Free Speech Guidelines (pictured), which were created in 1990 and haven’t been updated since
‘It also deprives some individuals of the right to express unpopular views and others of the right to listen to unpopular views,’ it added.
The guidelines also noted that Harvard ‘takes certain risks by assigning such a high priority to free speech,’ although it failed to disclose what those risks are.
According to The Harvard Crimson, the guidelines allow protests against speakers but do not allow protesters to prevent audience members from hearing and seeing the event.
It also establishes when Harvard police can eject or even arrest a protester as well as suggest penalties for those who prevent free speech.
The Undergraduate Council recommended that the school creates a review committee consisting of an equal number of undergraduate students and staff members.
The legislation act they proposed read: ‘The Undergraduate Council will not advocate for specific changes to the Freedom of Speech Guidelines without direct input from the student body,’ as reported by The Harvard Crimson.
In the act, the UC also expressed that they wanted to communicate students’ opinions to the review committee through future referendums and policy recommendations.
The act was passed by unanimous consent, according to The Harvard Crimson.
The other two propositions the UC made after Sunday’s meeting included legislation to form a social inclusion grant for students and that the school fund a late-night transportation program.
The Harvard Crimson reported that the social inclusion grant revived a fund made available by the UC in the past, which students used to host ‘socially-inclusive’ events and parties with financial support.
The other two legislations passed included a social inclusion grant for students – which puts aside $6,000 from UC funds to be given out over the course of eight weeks – and a fund for a late-night transportation program in partnership with Lyft
The UC cited the need for safe, efficient travel, ‘especially as it gets colder,’ since the pandemic has caused public transportation to close early
The program puts aside $6,000 from UC funds to be given out over the course of eight weeks, with each week setting aside up to $750 for events.
Each week the UC grant will fund an event of less than 50 guests and one larger event of more than 50 guests, and they are accessible to all students at Harvard.
Students can submit applications each week by Sunday at 6pm and priority will be given to events that would not otherwise be able to happen without the grant, according to The Harvard Crimson.
The third and final legislation passed – in partnership with Lyft – funded a late-night transportation program, citing the need for safe, efficient travel, ‘especially as it gets colder,’ since the pandemic has caused public transportation to close early.
‘The importance of efficient travel…cannot be understated,’ the legislation read.
The transportation fund will lottery up to 500 students to receive up to $15 in ride credits.