Letter to the Editor: Military Recruiting at HLS, Part 1


Two years ago, in response to the passage of the Solomon Amendment (which denies federal funding to an educational institution that does not allow on-campus military recruiting), Harvard Law School discontinued its longstanding policy of not allowing on-campus military recruitment. By its own admission (through an e-mail from Dean Kagan to the HLS community), “The Law School does not receive significant federal funding, and our federally sponsored student loan programs would not have been at risk.” In spite of the fact that allowing on-campus military recruiting “runs contrary to the Law School’s basic principles,” the law school made an exception. Kagan continued, “No one should understand the presence of the military on campus as reflecting a change in the strength of this opposition.” I disagree. If Harvard Law School wants to stand up for its principles, then it should do so regardless of the consequences. Otherwise, its stances lose strength and credibility. Harvard is the richest educational institution in the world. If any school can cope with the loss of federal funds, it would be Harvard. If HLS wants to take a stand on this or any other issue, it should do so even in the face of financial detriment. But the school refuses to do so. In the choice between “principle” and money, Harvard chooses the latter. Until and unless it chooses the former, it can talk all day about its principles, but in the end, talk is all it is. Harvard is quick to point out the “sins” of others’ policies and practices, while neglecting to notice the errors and hypocrisies of its own (This is evidenced by its hard-line stance on student plagiarism [which is outlined on Page 1 of The Adviser], while refusing to address the current plagiarism charges against several of its faculty.). As a result, its “principled stances” lose footing.

Drew Thornley, 3L

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