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After Hamas massacred 1,200 Israelis, gang-raped teens and kidnapped hundreds of innocents, 30 student groups at Harvard issued a statement reading, "We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence."
The anger that followed went beyond this dismissal of Isis-type barbarity. It pursued Harvard president Claudine Gay after she issued a mealy-mouthed response.
There was bit of a turnaround when prestigious law firms and other employers started rescinding job offers to students involved in these groups. Some companies may have objected to what they saw as overt displays of antisemitism. They may have also been shocked by the TikTok-level display of ignorance of the conflict's complexities, which these alleged top students had put on full display.
The main subject here isn't the current Mideast tragedy, but let us note: Students have every right to say stupid things, and employers have every right not to hire students who say stupid things. As for college administrators frightened of the children, that's a problem for the colleges.
This is about the undeserved reverence shown to these colleges no better than others with lesser brand names. How many times have my new acquaintances used the H-word to elevate their ordinary views?
Without a doubt, brilliant minds have attended and taught at Harvard, Yale, and the rest. But so have many mediocrities whose rich parents hired consultants to turn their offspring into the perfect packages these institutions want. That meant tutors to ensure high scores alongside some angle, such as prowess in a sport or carefully selected do-gooding.
Many in the media play the Ivy worship game. Reporters commonly put "Harvard-educated" or "Yale-educated" in front of some expert's name. If the person being interviewed went to the University of Nebraska or, say, Colgate, the alma mater is left a mystery. Never mind if the interviewee's less-glamorous school exceled in the area of expertise they were writing about.
My late husband, a senior editor at Princeton Press, set me straight on the hot air that fills the balloons of Ivy puffery. (I went to New York University.) Himself a product of elite education from prep school on up, he talked of seeking out writers at small colleges in the Dakotas who were actually doing original things. He found the professors who had spent their entire lives climbing the grades, from kindergarten to Ph.D. with hardly a break, tended toward the immature.
The most interesting intellectuals had held regular, non-academic jobs at some point: They had worked on a road crew or run a shoe store or painted houses. He was grateful to have been shaken out of his assumptions by time spent in the Marines. (He laughed about having to hide his background as an "Ivy flower" while being schooled on Parris Island.)
If these latest displays of cowardice by administrators at Harvard, Columbia and Yale vacuum up some of the fairy dust the worshippers sprinkle around these schools, so much the better. And that goes double if they prompt some rich alumni to move their donations elsewhere. How about funding organizations that help kids from struggling backgrounds get a foothold in a secure life?
One of the reasons so many super rich graduates give multimillions to the richest colleges is the same reason so many parents want their children to get into them. It gives them an opportunity to hobnob with other rich people or those whom they consider socially desirable.
"Should Ivy League Schools Randomly Select Students?" was the subject of a recent essay about how the COVID shutdowns gave the well-to-do an extra leg-up in these admissions. The more interesting question would have been, "When Can Everyone Stop Worshipping the Ivy League?"
Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at email@example.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.
Reprinted with permission from Creators.
In a November 27 legal filing submitted to the Colorado Supreme Court, attorneys representing former President Donald Trump made a unique argument in justifying that the US Constitution's insurrection clause doesn't apply to their client.
The clause, which is in Section Three of the 14th Amendment, states that "No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof." Trump's legal team argued that as president, their client is exempt from that language.
"The framers excluded the office of President from Section Three purposefully. Section Three does not apply, because the presidency is not an office 'under the United States,' and President Trump did not take an oath 'to support the Constitution of the United States,'" the filing read.
The filing also argues that the events of January 6, 2021 did not constitute an insurrection, even though Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol in an attempt to disrupt Congress' official certification of the 2020 presidential election in an hours-long riot that left several dead and hundreds more injured.
"Wow in a legal proceeding trump is now arguing he didn’t violate the 14th Amendment by inciting the Jan 6 insurrection because he 'never took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States,'" Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey) tweeted. "This treacherous criminal is head of the republican party."
Trump did in fact take such an oath. The presidential oath of office — which all presidents take on Inauguration Day — explicitly mentions the Constitution.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," the oath reads.
The matter before the Colorado Supreme Court concerns an attempt to remove the former president from the 2024 ballot on the grounds that he is ineligible under the insurrection clause due to Trump's involvement in the January 6 riot. While a judge ruled in Trump's favor, that decision has been appealed by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
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