- Jan 16, 2010
As a result of this, are we going to see going to Harvard for reals not impress anyone, since they've sold out on the brand name?Interesting note about that individual, Christopher Rufo:
The activist who is now a leading education policy figure on the right actually matriculated at Harvard Extension School. There’s a difference.newrepublic.com
In short, he claims a degree from Harvard in his bio. Except it appears to be a sort of Harvard add-on, "Harvard Extension School". The article quotes a policy analyst: "Harvard Extension School courses are accepted toward degrees at most colleges and universities... Do you know who doesn’t accept HES credits? Harvard College, i.e., the undergraduate institution that everyone in the world thinks of when you say ‘Harvard.’" An interesting context for a man criticising "middling, left-wing intellectuals".
The article also notes a person from the Trump White House team who described herself as a Harvard alumna, when it turns out she paid for a $82,000, 7-week course for which no entry requirements were required other than the fee. (Many universities offer these sorts of short, often CPD-type, courses). This and Rufo above are, I fear, a relatively common sort of trick - essentially to get some sort of backdoor association with a prestigious institution and exploit that grey area to present it in way that is not quite an outright lie but also clearly misleading. It may work at face value for selling themselves, but does not speak highly of their ethical standards and transparency.
Rufo's argument is not subtle: essentially, that free enquiry only counts as a principle when directed to a good or beneficial aim. Even if prettily worded, this is patently an endorsement of censorship - a good or beneficial aim is inevitably going to be decided by the state, and thereby through their control over public sector universities gives them the ability to shut down material that they disapprove of.
I also think University executives should have higher standards of professionalism than going onto Twitter and calling people they disagree with "hysterical".