Attacking Harvard, and Professors

The Massachusetts Republican Party has written to Harvard, demanding that they refuse to pay Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren for teaching one class twice a week this fall on contract law. Nate Little, executive director of the state GOP, wrote in a letter to Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust:

By restoring her to the faculty, even though she has now formed a federal election committee and is actively campaigning, the university is establishing a bad precedent for academic appointments. Of equal concern is that Harvard runs the risk of jeopardizing its tax-exempt status. As a non-profit charitable institution, Harvard is prohibited from taking a position on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate. Your payment of a salary to Professor Warren causes reasonable-minded people to conclude that Harvard is supportive of her candidacy.

By this logic, anyone running for office who holds a job is being illegally financed by their employer. And the only way Harvard might conceivably jeopardize its tax-exempt status would be by doing the bidding of the Republican Party and punishing a professor for seeking public office. If we allowed this kind of reasoning to prevail, only millionaires of the Mitt Romney variety would ever be able to run for public office. But maybe that’s the Massachusetts GOP’s model for public life.

2 thoughts on “Attacking Harvard, and Professors

  1. Pingback: BREAKING NEWS: Republican Party Demands Harvard Censor Its Faculty /  The Ave

  2. Somehow I think this is less about a serious objection to her employment at Harvard and more of an excuse to highlight her affiliation with an elite institution. This way Scott Brown can run commercials of him standing around his truck (again) and cutting to Warren at Harvard. The Senate race will be filtered through the cable news channels who will emphasize style over substance. Voters, most with little to no information regarding public policy or the positions of the candidates, will impute their own views onto the candidate that seems more like them – i.e. the guy with the pick up truck rather than the Harvard professor. By the end of the campaign Fox News viewers will see Elizabeth Warren as Wall Street’s puppet and Scott Brown as the champion of Main Street.

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