Harvey for Harvard

Ashley Thorne

Harvey Silverglate, an NAS member and co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), is running for Harvard’s Board of Overseers as a petition candidate. He has sent a letter urging Harvard alumni to consider his views and vote accordingly. We have reprinted the letter below, and encourage our Harvard alum readers to vote for Dr. Silverglate in this election. 

Bob Freedman, also an NAS member, is running for overseer as well. His campaign focuses on strengthening scholarship and intellectual rigor in the liberal arts. According to a note on Dr. Silverglate's website, "Like Harvey, Bob has fresh ideas for improving Harvard, with his focus mainly on issues involving the undergraduate curriculum and the quality of student life. If both Harvey and Bob are elected, they will be able to effectively work together to create positive change." To learn more about Bob and how you can vote for him and Dr. Silverglate, click here.


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Harvard has begun to mail out ballots for the University’s annual Board of Overseers election. As we are all alums, Harvard will be asking for your input.

I wanted to let you know that Harvey Silverglate is running as a petition candidate.
Harvey is a Cambridge-based criminal defense and civil liberties litigator and author (for more information, see http://www.harveysilverglate.com). Since graduating, he has taught at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (a public secondary school), the University of Massachusetts College III (in Boston), andHarvard Law School for a semester in the mid-1980s. In 1998, Harveyco-authored (with Alan Charles Kors) “The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses”, and a year laterhe co-founded the non-profit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE - http://www.thefire.org), a campus watchdog group dedicated to protecting the free speech/academic freedom and fair procedure/due process rights of students and faculty.
As a resident of the Harvard Square neighborhood, Harvey has long been interested in the well-being and institutional direction of Harvard. To run as a petition candidate in the 2009 election, he had to obtain more than 300 alumni signatures. It's been a time-intensive grassroots campaign thus far, and I ask that you take a moment to consider hisviews.

Harvey's platform includes:

  • Eliminating speech restrictions (so called “harassment codes” covering protected speech) on campus
  • Reforming the student disciplinary body, known as the Administrative Board, and
  • Restoring the student voice in alumni outreach efforts and scrutinizing the "corporatized" nature of university policies and decisions, which often relegate traditional academic values to secondary consideration.

 The campaign has gained significant media coverage, including:

Now Harvey needs your help. It’s been over twenty years since a petition candidate has been elected to the Board, in large measure due to election rules that makes it difficult to compete with the Alumni Association's official slate. (For more, see: http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=345851.)
I hope you'll consider supportingHarvey's effort - and that of fellow petition candidate Robert Freedman (for more, visit http://www.freedmanforoverseer.com/)- to begin the process of re-directing Harvard in some critically important areas. Thanks for your time and consideration.

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