Living with Rose-colored Glasses in the Ivory Tower

Living with Rose-colored Glasses in the Ivory Tower

© David Burton 2010

Harvard Universityl

     Life in academia all too often leads the occupants into a never-never world totally detached from the real world around them. The occupants of academia are led to believe that they are the intellectual superiors of the rest of humanity. They are often fawned over for their erudite speech and education. Many are insulated from the realities of life through lifetime tenure.

     Harvard University, a bastion of higher education that has produced some 17 Medal of Honor recipients, more than any other university in America, save the military academies, has, for the past 41 years boycotted ROTC on its campus. Yes, Harvard does have an ROTC program, “it’s just not allowed on campus. ROTC students must trudge down to MIT. . . . The school booted the ROTC off campus in 1969, during the height of the Vietnam War. . . . Harvard sided with Jane Fonda, Ho Chi Minh and the oppressors.
     “The public servants in our military are almost singularly responsible for the fact that so many classical liberal ideals exist on the planet today: multicultural tolerance, freedom of speech, thought and press, trial by jury, equality under the law – to name just a few of the ideals that Harvard pretends to covet.
     “If Harvard truly embraced these ideals, it would embrace the public servants who fought and died to defend them – and embrace those in the ROTC willing to do it again.” (Ref. 1)

     Our academic institutions that seemingly so favor diversity, openness, and liberalism actually have a very bad record in all of these areas. It was not so long ago that anti-Semitism was a common fact of life on many of the elite colleges and universities in our country.

     “In the second decade of this {the then 20th} century Jewish students began entering Ivy League colleges and professional schools in significant numbers; by 1932 more than 20 percent of Harvard’s undergraduates were Jews, as were 15 percent or more of the students at its law and medical schools.
     “Their welcome was less than enthusiastic. An occasional Jewish student was one thing, especially if he came from an assimilated, upper-middle-class home, but numbers of Jewish students were something else again.” (Ref. 2)

     Dean Francis Kepel of Columbia University was afraid that the University was losing non-Jewish students from “homes of refinement” to “colleges such as Amherst and Williams, which had virtually no Jews enrolled. To restore Columbia’s social standing, both Keppel and his successor, Herbert Hawkes, decide that it was necessary to reduce and thereafter to limit the number of Jewish students. This they succeeded in doing: the proportion of Jews enrolled dropped from about 40 percent in 1914 to 21 percent four years later, and to 15-16 percent during the 1920s. Most other elite institutions followed suit. ‘We must put a ban on the Jews’ Dean Frederick S. Jones of Yale told a meeting of the Association of New England Deans in 1918, because their academic success was discouraging Gentile students.” (Ref. 2) How very liberal of our elite academic snobs!

     “Much as Keppel, Hawkes and their counterparts at other universities wanted to limit the number of Jews, they shied away from formal quotas. . . . The college deans and presidents resorted instead to a variety of subterfuges to put their informal quotas into effect. They sought ‘geographic balance’ in the student body – which meant limiting the number of students from the Northeast; this automatically reduced the number of Jewish students.” (Ref. 2)

     “Lest there be any doubt as to the end desired, Columbia, along with Yale and most other private colleges and universities, began asking questions not only about religion and national origin but also about the maiden names of the applicants’ mothers. Some Jewish applicants (or their fathers) were now anglicizing their last names to mask their Jewishness, but the practice was too recent to have affected the mother’s family name. As a further precautionary measure, an applicant was also required to submit a photograph, so one’s physiognomy could be scrutinized for Jewish characteristics.” (Ref. 2)

     Harvard’s President, A. Lawrence Lowell, felt that Harvard’s homogeneity was threatened “by the growing number of first- and second-generation Jewish students,” and favored the adoption of a “clear-cut quota.” However, “the Harvard faculty voted for measures similar to those Columbia had adopted, that is, to seek a student body representative of the American Population as a whole. The end result was the same: Jewish enrollment at Harvard was cut from 21 percent to 10 percent.” (Ref. 2) So much for the concept of admission to America’s colleges and universities as being unbiased and based on merit!

     “A new book examines American colleges’ ties to Nazi Germany in the 1930s -- and chronicles a record characterized by indifference, complicity and collaboration.
     “. . . it’s a very shameful record of complicity and indifference to atrocities committed against the Jews from 1933 onward -- and actually a lot of collaboration, in terms of participating in well-organized student exchange programs, participating in well-orchestrated Nazi festivals in Germany, sending delegates to those and ignoring protests,” says Stephen H. Norwood, a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma and author of The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses, new from Cambridge University Press.
     “In an interview, Norwood describes university leaders as indifferent to evidence of a barbaric regime rising abroad in part because of their own polices of anti-Semitism and exclusion back home. ‘They just didn't care very deeply about Jews and anti-Semitism because they were themselves involved in maintaining quota barriers against Jewish students. There were very, very few Jews on the faculties of American universities throughout the entire inter-war period. And there are whole fields that were basically off-limits to Jews,’ he says."
         - - -
     "{Norwood goes on to say,} . . . ‘although academicians were the Americans most conversant with European affairs, few engaged in public anti-Nazi protest. . . . American universities maintained amicable relations with the Third Reich, sending their students to study at Nazified universities while welcoming Nazi exchange students to their own campuses. American’s most distinguished university presidents willingly crossed the Atlantic in ships flying the swastika flag, openly defying the anti-Nazi boycott, to the benefit of the Third Reich’s economy. By warmly receiving Nazi diplomats and propagandists on campus, they helped Nazi Germany present itself to the American public as a civilized nation, unfairly maligned in the press.’
     “Two of Norwood’s chapters feature his research on 'legitimating Nazism' and 'complicity and conflict' at Harvard and Columbia Universities,
     “. . . another chapter focuses on the all-female Seven Sisters Colleges {Mount Holyoke College, Vassar College, Wellesley College, Smith College, Radcliffe College, Bryn Mawr College, and Barnard College} -- which, despite Nazi-era quotas limiting women's enrollment at German universities, staunchly promoted the Junior Year in Munich up until the start of the war.
     “Another chapter throws an unflattering spotlight on the University of Virginia's Institute of Public Affairs' roundtables, which, from 1933 to 1941, ‘provided a major platform and an aura of academic legitimacy for Nazi Germany's supporters and for the propagation of antisemitism,’” (Ref. 3)

     American Catholic universities kept up friendly relations with Benito Mussolini's Fascist government, and also supported the Fascist General Francisco Franco in Spain. Only in 1938 after the Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany, "did American universities become significantly involved in protest against Nazism. Even then, the initiative came largely from students." (Ref. 3)

     Securely ensconced in their ivory towers, our academic elite have always been eager to embrace any new idealistic movements or their charismatic leaders without performing the due diligence needed to verify their ultimate intents and without regard to the possible effects of their blind infatuations. Witness the love affairs of academia with Soviet style Communism and Josef Stalin in the 1930’s and 1940’s, Nazism and Adolph Hitler in the 1930’s, and Cuban style Communism and Fidel Castro in the 1950’s.

     In 1959, Cuban leader, Fidel Castro traveled to the United States. “Fidel Castro spent his last night in the United States at Harvard, as the guest of the University . . . hosted . . . at a Faculty Club Dinner. . . . Castro included Harvard, in addition to Princeton and Yale, in his swing along the East Coast to make his case before the next generation of the American elite. . . At Princeton University, Castro was hoisted onto the shoulders of Eating Club upper classmen for a quick tour of the quadrangle.” (Ref. 4)

     On April 25, 1959, “8,700 members of the Harvard community gathered outside to greet Fidel.” A Harvard dean, McGeorge Bundy, introduced Castro by declaring that “Harvard was ready to make amends for its 1948 mistake” {in then denying Castro admittance to the University}. Bundy declared that Harvard “had decided to admit him.” (Ref. 4)

     “In the 1930s, the universities were the first German institutions to capitulate to Adolf Hitler. . Fascism was an idea so messianic in its conception, so elitist in its attitudes, and so anti-capitalist in its social philosophy that intellectuals found it irresistible.
     “In England in the 1930s, while Germany rearmed and began annexing territory in the heart of Europe, the Oxford Union resolved “not to defend King and country” against the growing fascist threat. . . . The consequence was World War II and 70 million deaths before he was stopped.
     “Now the West is engaged in a new war with a totalitarian enemy called radical Islam, which despises Western capitalism and democracies. And once again, totalitarianism finds its most dependable allies on college faculties. . . . The jihadists of Radical Islam simply offer unmitigated hatred of the 'Great Satan,' the United States. For the academic left, that is enough.
     “On university campuses across the U.S., tenured radicals teach their students that ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,’ and that America is ‘the world’s greatest terrorist state.’ The Middle East Studies Association and more than 200 ‘Peace Studies’ programs share the view that America’s terrorist enemies are in fact the voice of the world’s ‘oppressed,’ and that by challenging the United States they are advancing the cause of ‘social justice.’ Nor is the activity of these faculty radicals confined to academic theory. On every major American campus, radical professors are busily organizing anti-American ‘teach-ins’ and demonstrations against the war, and providing their students with academic credit for joining the radical cause.
     “September 11, 2001, is burned into the nation’s memory as a day of infamy and terror. Yet within weeks of this horror, protests were organized on more than 150 American college campuses opposing, in advance, an American military response. . . . As President Bush vowed to depose the totalitarian theocracy that had given al-Qaeda a military base of operations and bring the terrorists to justice, professors denounced America as 'the greatest terrorist state'; lecturers at the City University of New York condemned 'American imperialism' as the root cause of the attack; and Brown University academics chanted, 'one, two, three, four, we don’t want a racist war!' Thus, before the final death count had been tallied in the worst act of terrorism in American history, the campus Left had already launched a pre-emptive strike against America’s effort to defend itself.” (Ref. 5)

     Today, a significant segment of academia has joined in an alliance with terrorists and their enablers. They are sponsoring pro-terrorist symposia, funding and defending pro-terrorist campus organizations, teaching students that America is an imperialistic oppressor and the terrorists are no threat. America’s universities are playing a significant role in the war on terror – an anti-American one, at that!

     At many American Universities, the right of free speech is constantly being threatened and frequently denied. Usually, the opposition is student based, but the real basis for the opposition most often is faculty instigated, directed, or motivated. At these institutions many on the faculty believe that because they are told that they are the nation’s elite, they are smarter than the masses, should tell the uneducated masses what to do, and know more than those who have gone before and made America the democratic, technological, and productive power that it is. In fact, these intellectual snobs deny America’s success and boast that they and only they can change the American way of life into the “the right way of life” as they see and define the “the right way of life”. They see their ivory tower as the pinnacle of knowledge and the rest of us need to be told by them what to do, where to go, and how to proceed.

     Free speech at American Universities is under attack.

     “Muslim students tried to silence Israel’s U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren when he spoke at UC Irvine’s Pacific Ballroom on Monday afternoon, February 8 {2010}.
     “Ambassador Oren had come to share his historical and personal perspective on the U.S.-Israel relationship. . . . But the Muslim students were determined to silence him, deny him the right to free speech, and deny the audience the right to have civil, intellectual discourse at UCI.” (Ref. 6)

     “The good news is that Ambassador Oren refused to be silenced. . . . With his elegant manner, he remained calm, and stood his ground. He stood up for free speech.” (Ref. 6)

     “Last week, an unruly mob of radical protestors at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill chased former U.S. congressman and anti-illegal immigration spokesman Tom Tancredo from his speaking engagement. Police were forced to use pepper spray at one point while protestors tried to push their way into an already packed room. Tancredo stopped speaking when protestors outside the building broke a window in the lecture hall.” (Ref. 7)

     “For a hundred years, our universities and our schools, generally, have understood that the function of a teacher in a democracy is to teach students how to think, not tell them what to think. If you want your child or if you want yourself to be told what to think, send them to the University of Havana or the University of Tehran, where the function of teachers is to instruct students in what is proper to think, which is of course what the totalitarian dictatorship wants them to think.
     “In a democracy, we need to educate citizens who can think for themselves. ... And that means presenting two sides to controversial questions, indicating when an opinion is being given by the professor, as opposed to a statement of scientific fact.
     “All across the country, in every school we've studied ... we have discovered . . . courses which are . . . blatant attempts to indoctrinate students, and exclusively in radical left-wing agendas.
     “But ... (these courses are) simply political recruitment and training sessions ... and this is a threat to our democracy. ... When you have millions of students every year going to classrooms where this kind of doctrine is hammered into them, and where the threat of their grades means that at the very least they have to parrot it back, but where they don't get to hear critiques of these absurd views, then you have a serious problem.” (Ref. 8)

     “America's college campuses have long been bastions of Leftist anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, and anti-globalism. In recent years, they have also become host to a wave of anti-Zionism. Muslim Student Associations regularly demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. Recently, the non-sectarian Yale Political Union publicly condemned the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship. Professors have joined in, promoting a dubious criticism of the American foreign policy alliance with the Jewish state.
     “The strongest anti-Zionist campus movements have been observed on America's ‘Left Coast.’ California's Jewish students face increasingly inflammatory rhetoric. Islamist student groups have repeatedly brought fiery anti-Israel speakers to campus, including some who praise suicide bombers, express support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and rail against America and its ‘Zionist Jews.’
     “At the University of California-Irvine, . . . Oakland-based Muslim cleric Amir Abdel Malik Ali, gave a notorious lecture at UCI in 2006 during a week of activities sponsored by the campus Muslim Student Union under the rubric ‘Holocaust in the Holy Land.’ Speaking on a campus plaza behind a sign reading ‘Israel, the 4th Reich,’ Ali proudly stated that Israelis are ‘reluctant to get on buses and things, or go to the café,’ for fear of terrorist attacks. He gloated, ‘It's about time that they live in fear.’” (Ref. 9)

     “At the University of California-Berkeley, anti-Israel incidents have ranged from Palestinian marches demonizing Israel's 'Apartheid Wall,' to the arrest by campus police of 79 pro-Palestinian protestors who stormed a building to disrupt a 2002 Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration. An organization known as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has also found faculty support for the divestment of state pension funds from companies that do business with Israel.” (Ref. 9)

     “At the University of California-Santa Barbara, . . . Muslim groups have invited several radical speakers who were paid with university funds. In February 2008, the MSA hosted Edina Lekovic, who has written of Osama bin Laden as a ‘brother’ and ‘freedom fighter.’” (Ref. 9)

     “Columbia University has invited a representative of the world’s most antisemitic regime to speak on its campus. This week’s news? Try 1933.
     “Seventy years before this week’s invitation to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Columbia rolled out the red carpet for a senior official of Adolf Hitler’s regime. The invitation to Iran’s leader may seem less surprising, but no less disturbing, when one recalls that in 1933, Columbia president Nicholas Murray Butler invited Nazi Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Hans Luther, to speak on campus, and also hosted a reception for him.” (Ref. 10)

     Columbia University’s administration “seems to have learned so little from the mistakes of the 1930s that it is prepared to welcome the leader of yet another antisemitic, terrorist regime.
     “According to Israel’s ambassador, inviting Ahmadinejad to speak is the equivalent of ‘inviting Hitler to [speak] in the 1930s,’ because ‘appeasing fanatics and granting them legitimacy leads to genocide and war.’ Will some future Columbia president one day look back at the invitation to Ahmadinejad and say the same thing?” (Ref. 10)

     “Columbia University's Middle East Studies program has long been a center of anti-Israel activism. The controversy stems from a long line of professors who have been leaders in academic boycotts of Israeli professors. The school has a roster of professors who have been accused by students of anti-Israel bias - including charges that Jewish students have been subjected to prejudice from their professors.” (Ref. 11)

     “Academic freedom and inquiry is not welcome at Columbia University, which has become a hotbed of anti-Israel activism highlighted by the welcome it extended to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the-Holocaust-denying . . . President of Iran.” (Ref. 11)



  1. Crimson’s true patriots, Kerry J. Byrne, Boston Herald, Page 12, 31 May 2010.
  2. A Certain People, Charles E. Silberman, Summit Books, New York, First Edition, Pages 51-54, 1985.
  3. Higher Ed and the Third Reich , Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed;, 17 June 2009.
  4. One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964, A. Fursenko and Timothy J. Naftali, Norton Paperback, 1998.
  5. Campus Support For Academic Freedom ,, Accessed 5 June 2010.
  6. ISRAEL AMBASSADOR OREN DEFENDS FREE SPEECH AT UC IRVINE, Roz Rothstein, StandWithUs;, Accessed 7 June 2010.
  7. How to Silence an Unruly Mob of Campus Radicals, Jay Schalin, American Thinker;, 23 April 2009 (Accessed 11 June 2010).
  8. Horowitz: Campus radicals a threat, Alan Wallace, TribLive/Opinion;, 26 April 2009 (Accessed 11 June 2010).
  9. The Rise of Campus Anti-Zionism in California, Larry Greenfield, inFocus, The Jewish Policy Center;, Winter 2008. (Accessed 12 June 2010).
  10. Columbia “Invites Hitler to Campus” --As it Did in 1933, Rafael Medoff, George Mason University’s History News Network;, Source: Released by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies (9-20-07), Accessed 12 June 2010.
  11. Middle East studies in the News - More Anti-Israel Bias at Columbia [incl. Rashid Khalidi, Timothy Mitchell], Ed Lasky, The American Thinker;, 12 September 2008, (Accessed 10 June 2010).


  13 June 2010 {Article 79; Undecided_17}    
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