Statement from Royall Must Fall

Early this morning, the faculty, staff, and students of Harvard Law School woke up to the defacement of the portraits of all current and former black professors on the walls of Wasserstein Hall.

As far as we know, the defacement of these portraits is still being investigated by the Harvard University Police.

Earlier last night, student activists created an educational art exhibit where they placed tape on the crests of Harvard Law School in Wasserstein Hall and posted facts about Isaac Royall, Jr. Black gaffer tape was used so that it would not leave any residue. Some of this tape was later taken off the activist art exhibit and used to cross out the faces of black professors.

Continue reading “Statement from Royall Must Fall”

Letter: Would the Governor Have Let My Family Die? 

Dear Editor,

I owe my existence to England letting in Holocaust refugees. I feel so sad that our state wants to keep refugees out now.

I had thought that everyone learned a lesson from the Holocaust. The U.S. turned away Jewish refugees, leaving many of my people to die in concentration camps. How can states wish to do that again?

Alene Anello

Alene Anello is a third-year student at Harvard Law School.

Letter to the Editor: SeaWorld Should Move Orcas to Sea

Re: “Delving Deeper into the SeaWorld Hype


Thank you for running Chris Green’s thoughtful piece calling out SeaWorld’s PR spin. SeaWorld’s business model – like so many of the orcas it has exploited – is dead.

Orcas are enormous in both size and brain power. In the oceans where they belong, orcas swim vast distances every day and lead rich, complex lives. Keeping them in worlds that can be measured in gallons is ethically indefensible. They know they aren’t supposed to be in SeaWorld’s barren tanks, performing silly tricks for dead fish. It’s little wonder so many die far short of their natural lifespans.

SeaWorld can develop protected coastal pens where the orcas can be transitioned. There, the animals could have greater freedom of movement; the ability to see, sense, and communicate with their wild cousins; to feel the tides and waves; and have opportunities to engage in the behaviors that they’ve long been denied.  Viewing platforms would allow the public to see and appreciate these animals for who they are, not interchangeable “Shamu’s.”

By moving forward into a future that doesn’t include keeping ocean dwellers in swimming pools, SeaWorld wouldn’t have to paint concrete blue to make its business more palatable to the public.

Yours truly,

Jennifer O’Connor

Ms. O’Connor is a senior writer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

A Defense of The Hunting Ground and Other Non-Legal Advocacy

The Hunting Ground is a documentary. Documentaries, like other mediums of advocacy journalism, give those who have been silenced in other forums a chance to speak. The creators of The Hunting Ground gave survivors a chance to tell their story, which is a different task from courtroom advocacy, though no less noble. Documentary filmmakers must tell their subjects’ stories in a way that honors their trust, as it takes bravery and trust to share one’s story on camera. And, unlike courts, documentaries are free to explore evidence in more depth and detail. They do not include presumptions of guilt or innocence, and both filmmakers and audiences are free to make credibility determinations.

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In Response to Bill Barlow’s “Fascism at Yale”: Who’s Being Coddled Here?

This article was submitted by the author as a response to Bill Barlow’s recent op-ed, “Fascism at Yale.”

“What does it require for a subperson to assert himself or herself politically? To begin with, it means simply, or not so simply, claiming the moral status of personhood. So it means challenging the white-constructed ontology that has deemed one a ‘body-impolitic,’ an entity not entitled to assert personhood in the first place. . . . One has to learn the basic self-respect that can casually be assumed by Kantian persons, those privileged by the Racial Contract, but which is denied subpersons. . . . One has to learn to trust one’s own cognitive powers, to develop one’s own concepts, insights, modes of explanation, overarching theories, and to oppose the epistemic hegemony of conceptual frameworks designed in part to thwart and suppress the exploration of such matters; one has to think against the grain.” – Charles Mills, The Racial Contract 118 – 19 (1997)

It is in Mills’ tradition of political assertion that we should read unrest on campuses today. Students are demanding recognition of their claims to knowledge about their own social experiences and broader structures of oppression, but beyond that they are demanding justice (which is not to suggest the two are distinct). Across the country and world, students are agitating for change. Whether it’s Mizzou, Yale, or Capetown. And somewhere in the bowels of the White Dude Thinkpiece Establishment, Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff, Conor Friedersdorf, and others sit and wonder where it all went wrong. Kids these days can’t take the heat of intellectual challenge, asking to be coddled on campus, and it’s hurting them psychologically. This is part of Haidt and Lukianoff’s conclusion in the “Coddling of the American Mind,” approvingly cited by Friedersdorf in his latest dismissive commentary on student activism at Yale. This view seems to be getting a lot of uptake in the media and among a wide swathe of diverse sorts of (mostly) white people—young, Ivy-League white people; old puffy white people; white people who would be happy to explain why you’re wrong and they’re right.

But who’s really being coddled here? Continue reading “In Response to Bill Barlow’s “Fascism at Yale”: Who’s Being Coddled Here?”

Letter to the Editor: Former Crimson Hockey Defenseman Defends Contact Sports

To the editor:

Prior to and during my time at Harvard, I have been concussed multiple times in my hockey career and have suffered severely as a result. Despite double digit brain injuries, I made the decision to continue playing and understood the risk that I was taking. For me, the negatives of repeated injury are outweighed by the countless positive experiences that sport provided. After my last concussion on January 9th, 2015, I was left reeling from symptoms and was forced to retire; yet, if I could go back in time to when I first laced up my skates, I would not change a single thing. When I was concussed, as miserable as my symptoms were, ranging from the cognitive to the physical, nothing could cheer me up more than the rink, my sport, and my teammates. This value of athletics is intrinsic and serves as an outlet and an identity for athletes around the globe. Continue reading “Letter to the Editor: Former Crimson Hockey Defenseman Defends Contact Sports”

Letter to the Editor: Royall Must Be Recognized, Not Revered

Dear Editor,

Students at Harvard Law School are calling for a change to the school’s seal, which incorporates the family crest of HLS benefactor Isaac Royall, one of the biggest slaveholders in colonial greater Boston. I’ve often heard people react protectively towards the historic names on buildings, street signs, and other institutions, saying that you can’t try to erase a piece of history just because you don’t like it. I agree on the surface, but as a historian and museum professional who studies how we create and perpetuate public memory, I cannot ignore the fact that we as a society erase or paint over pieces of history all the time. Just as photographs can never be fully objective because something is always left out of the frame, public memory is a process of constant choices. There’s simply too much history to commemorate all of it all of the time, and what we commemorate changes. What’s important is that we as a society choose wisely when we honor people from the past. Continue reading “Letter to the Editor: Royall Must Be Recognized, Not Revered”