and entering

Op-Ed: Dismantle Harvard Now

Gates and doors are cogent examples of Harvard using instruments of exclusivity.


It's time to talk about dismantling Harvard. Its existence is premised on exclusivity, which is central to its role in the American social landscape. Being a Harvard student signifies fitting into an elite social circle that rejects subpar classmates. Only abolition of Harvard will show true commitment to inclusion and respect.

Harvard functions on the premise that outsiders don’t deserve to know how it operates. What we know comes from hearsay or leaked emails. Without transparency in selection, we are left with a sour taste in our mouths as we see the “elite” among us get selected for Harvard. How can a university be truly diverse when its membership process is predicated on double-selectiveness (whatever that means)?

Despite the secrecy, Harvard is constantly a topic of national conversation, dating back to 1934 New York Times article: “there is a strong undemocratic tinge to the system which rubs off on anyone who joins it.”

It is of no use to discuss how this university may coexist with the rest of Massachusetts, or how it might be made more inclusive. The recent but small strides in diversity that the university touts should not distract from the privilege and exclusion that drive the College’s activities.

Our concern is this: the university’s elite membership goes on to run the world in the image of how they understand it—through the narrow lens of exclusion. Massachusetts commends itself on valuing diversity and inclusion. We must not tacitly tolerate institutions that facilitate such damaging social spaces. By allowing this institution to exclude, our state and our nation condone an ideology of false “deservingness” that has caused exclusionary harm in the past.

Every day that the University does not disband is another day it remains complicit in elitism and exclusion. While the ideal final outcome is the abolition of this school, we must begin by thoughtfully engaging with administrators to tell them that we are shutting Harvard down. 

© 2015