Harvard professor warns that service members enrolled at Ivy League school fear disclosing their military status to woke classmates and faculty members over backlash fears
- Kit Parker, a bioengineering professor at Harvard, said veterans are hesitant to reveal their military background in fear of backlash from classmates
- The professor also said students are concerned about speaking out in class
- The Ivy League school was dubbed the worst for free speech out of 248 schools in the US
A Harvard professor warned that service members are hiding their military status to avoid backlash from classmates and faculty members after the elite school was ranked the single worst for free speech out of 248 schools in the US.
Military veterans enrolled at the Ivy League school ‘think it’s better if they don’t tell their classmates or their faculty members before that they are members of the military,’ said Kit Parker, a bioengineering professor and an officer of the US Army Reserve, in an interview with Fox&Friends First.
‘It boils down to leadership. It boils down to the president,’ the lieutenant colonel who served in Afghanistan added.
Harvard University has just been awarded zero points out of a possible 100 for free speech by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression(FIRE) in 2023.
Its 0-point score was a full 11 points behind the next worst school on the list, fellow Ivy League University of Pennsylvania.
At least 51 veterans were enrolled in Harvard College in 2021, according to the school’s website, where it also says ‘the veteran population at the College has steadily grown’.
Parker also said students are concerned about speaking out in class over fear of ‘others’ wrath on social media’.
The professor of bioengineering believes the free speech issue affects how the faculties design and teach their courses. ‘It’s up to the faculty member ultimately as to how much risk they want to assume when they teach a course, or they make a public statement,’ he continued.
Despite the school being rated an ‘abysmal’ place for free speech, Parker said the university ‘ultimately support free speech or academic freedom’.
The elite academic institution has never performed well on free speech by the FIRE standards.
The foundation said Harvard’s result was ‘generous’ and that its actual score by its calculations was less than zero at -10.69.
The director of polling an analytics at FIRE, Sean Stevens, said that Harvard has consistently ranked among the bottom tier of schools on the list – but he was surprised to see it ‘fall below zero’.
A school’s score is calculated based on factors like how strong its policies in favor of free speech are and how many professors, students and visitors to campus have been targeted by school authorities for their publicly held positions.
Nine professors and researchers at Harvard have faced calls to be punished or fired in the last few years based on things they’d said or written.
Some of the free speech incidents include the school’s decision to revoke conservative activist Kyle Kashuv’s acceptance because of racist comments he made on social media as a 16-year-old. He has since apologized.
It’s not the first time the prestigious university in Massachusetts mired in controversy with military.
When Supreme Court Judge Elena Kagan served as the dean of Harvard Law School, she supported a decades-long policy that prevented military recruiters from using the career services.
‘Ms. Kagan kicked the military off Harvard’s campus and out of its campus recruitment office.’ said Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
‘She gave big law firms full access to recruit bright young associates, but obstructed the access of the military as it tried to recruit bright young JAG officers to support and represent out soldiers as they were risking their lives for our country. It was an unjustifiable decision,’ Sen. Session said at Kagan’s confirmation hearing.