Freedom of Speech

Harvard Administrators Flood Dining Halls with Social Justice Placemats

Telling students what to think about the Syrian refugees

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Harvard
Wikimedia Commons

Fearful that students heading home for the holidays will have trouble discussing topical political issues with their families, Harvard University administrators have installed placemats in the cafeteria that tell students what they should say and think.

From The Harvard Crimson:

Dubbed "Holiday Placemat for Social Justice" and described as "a placemat guide for holiday discussions on race and justice with loved ones," the placemats pose hypothetical statements on those topics and offer a "response" to each of those in a question and answer format. For example, under a section entitled "Yale/Student Activism," the placemat poses the question, "Why are Black students complaining? Shouldn't they be happy to be in college?" and suggests that students respond by saying, "When I hear students expressing their experiences on campus I don't hear complaining."

In the center of the placemat are what it calls "tips for talking to families," with recommendations such as "Listen mindfully before formulating a thoughtful response" and "Breathe."

The placemats are the handiwork of the college's Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Freshman Dean's Office, which means they carry the institutional endorsement of Harvard. That fact has some students perturbed:

Aaron I. Henricks '16 said he found the publication of the placemats by an official Harvard office "beyond inappropriate and arrogant," criticizing their one-sided presentation of "highly debateable subjects." The placemats offer a single response to each proposed question.

"I don't think that's the place of any Harvard employee to tell students the right way to think about the Syrian refugee crisis. That's ridiculous to me," Henricks said, referencing a statement on the placemat that reads "Racial justice involves welcoming Syrian refugees."

That's not quite right. Certain Harvard employees can and should offer concrete opinions on the Syrian refugee crisis: the faculty. Harvard classrooms are an ideal place for professors and students to debate complex political issues.

Administrators, on the other hand, should really avoid clumsy attempts to tell students what to think. I agree with the placemats on the subject of Syrian refugees, but what about students who don't? Is there an Office for Alternative Viewpoints at Harvard to circulate right-leaning placemats in dining halls?

Hat tip: The College Fix

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72 responses to “Harvard Administrators Flood Dining Halls with Social Justice Placemats

  1. Rico, I have a great headline for your next article:

    “Yale and Harvard Are On the Path to Mutually Assured Destruction on Social Justice Retardation”

    MAD is a winner. Trust me.

    1. Proof again that the modern college experience is a total waste of time and resources.

  2. I agree with the placemats on the subject of Syrian refugees

    Two questions:

    (1) What Syrian refugees? Most the migration into northern Europe involves neither Syrians nor refugees.

    (2) When did “Syrian” become a race, as in “Racial justice involves welcoming Syrian refugees.” ?

    1. Just shut up and drink your cocktail

    2. Look, long and harsh history of Arab slavery demands compensation!

      *stops for a moment, listens to a voice in headpiece*

      Oooh…that’s what “Arab slavery” means?

  3. Jesus Christ.

    Just ask for your money back and go elsewhere.

  4. I smell a contest topic…

    “Write a hypothetical question and response for your social justice placemat”

    1. “May I have more turkey?”

      “Dad, can we not celecbrate one holiday dinner without you ruining it with your misogynistic microagressions directed toward Mom? Turkey indeed!”

  5. ‘”Dubbed “Holiday Placemat for Social Justice” and described as “a placemat guide for holiday discussions on race and justice with loved ones,” the placemats pose hypothetical statements on those topics and offer a “response” to each of those in a question and answer format”‘

    BECAUSE THINKING FOR YOURSELF IS WRONG

    1. Why would I pay $40K a year to a bunch of eggheads if they aren’t going to tell me what to think? If I wanted to think for myself, I could do that at home for free…geez.

      1. Well, when you spend more than 40k (I assume Harvard is more than 40k), you get access to a lot of influential people who can help further whichever career path you choose.

        That is the only reason.

        1. C’mon, CJ-these kids aren’t chosing their own paths! That’s what parents and Harvard professors are for.

          That, and protecting their ears from wrongthink.

          1. “Uh oh, an idea I disagree with. Down the Memory Hole with you!!”

        2. Per the interwebs:

          “The total 2015-2016 cost of attending Harvard College without financial aid is $45,278 for tuition and $60,659 for tuition, room, board and fees combined.”

  6. Harvard University administrators have installed placemats in the cafeteria that tell students what they should say and think.

    Well, the students are mere children who can barely feed themselves, aren’t they?

    1. Yeah, hang on a second. If Harvard students are as childish as Harvard administrators think they are, they’re gonna spill way too much food on those placemats to be able to read them.

      1. Nah, they’ll eat the placemats first. Which the educational administrators think will work as imbibing wisdom.

  7. I can tell you that over the holidays the topics discussed will very much be uncivil laced with unbecoming and inappropriate language. And that’s just the kids! Hey-O!

    It usually ends with me raping the Christmas tree. From the top.

    A Harvard student would probably throw up, tremble in fear and faint.

    1. Canada is so weird.

      1. You spelled ‘awesome’ wrong.

      2. This coming from the country that spawned Caitlyn and Honey Boo-Boo and unimaginatively has ONE color for its bills. Yeah, we’re so ‘weird’.

        1. That’s a vicious LIE. Money is Green and also Light Green. That’s 2 colors.

          1. He’s right though. Our currency is ugly. Of course, it’s also the most desirable on the planet, so there’s that.

            1. /Rufus drops a bunch if items on conveyor belt at check-out.

              Cashier (tallies items): That’ll cost you 3 blue ones, 2 greens and a pink one.
              Rufus: I only have yellows!

            2. Bah! If I wanted multiple colors I’d buy a comic book! Money is supposed to be drab looking. Otherwise it winds up looking like the scrip out of Monopoly.

              Now, you kids get off my lawn!

          2. And our new ten-dollar bill is a slightly different shade of parchment. Neener neener.

        2. Is it weird for an entire generation of Canadians to grow up having never seen a Canadian hockey team hoist the Stanley Cup?

          1. Damn, them’s fightin’ words.

            1. Meh.

        3. Canadians do have a weird appreciation for Chuck Mangione.

          1. I thought he lived in Arlen, TX.

          2. He’s from my hometown – it was like all Mangione all the time there for a while.

            1. Rochester? My mom went to high school with him. Gave him a chance, but I couldn’t get into his musica.

              1. Yes. One of the local channels played him during all the station ID’s and such.

            2. STOP ME BEFORE I LINK AGAIN

              *Greatest mangione jam session ever. Steve Gadd, Tony Levin…

          3. “Canadians”, huh? I didn’t know you worked in the service industry!

  8. Bumpkin: “Mr Douglas should know – he graduated from Hartford. ”
    Rube Sheriff : ‘Never heard of it.”
    Douglas : “That’s ‘Harvard’.”
    Rube Sheriff : “Never heard of it.”

  9. My favorite character from Fallout 4 provides a great template for “how to have holiday discussions“. Follow his advice and you can’t go wrong.

  10. Harvard sounds like the sort of place witch hunting could make a big comeback.

    1. Could ?

  11. I favor Anti-Social Justice.

  12. In the center of the placemat are what it calls “tips for talking to families,” with recommendations such as “Listen mindfully before formulating a thoughtful response” and “Breathe.”

    The implication being that your family is so backwards and simple-minded that hearing their opinions will throw you into fits of outrage.

    Or, you know, maybe your family just wants to enjoy a nice dinner and hear about how your personal life is going instead of getting a fucking lecture on how stupid they are.

    1. hearing their opinions will throw you into fits of outrage

      To be fair, they’re probably right about this.

      1. I know that happens to me sometimes. Though I’m generally pretty good about not using it as an opportunity to hyperventilate and seek out a safe space to cry.

      2. Well, yes.

        But I find it amusing that the attitude seems to be that Harvard students come from a background of country rubes.

        Harvard students.

    2. It’s hard not to don a tinfoil hat and think the real purpose of these are to drive a wedge between family members in order to further isolate students from opposing viewpoints and, more fundamentally, more important social structures. How long until they include a website where you can report on sign your family members up to receive free educational materials?

    3. Of course; they didn’t go to Harvard!

      (though at least one parent probably has, or else how do you get into Harvard?)

  13. Best. Education. Money. Can. Buy.

    Allegedly.

    1. Hah. You can get an almost equal or better education at any number of colleges and universities for way less.

      But you don’t go to Harvard for the education. You go to Harvard for the signal that you have the qualities to get into Harvard and (more importantly) for the access to a professional network that gets you.

      1. Hah. You can get an almost equal or better education at any number of colleges and universities for way less.

        Hell, you can get the same education for a buck fifty in late chahges at your local library. – MAAAAAT DAAAAAAMON in Good Will Hunting

  14. The placemats are the handiwork of the college’s Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

    Of course it is, but this just scratches the surface. Scarier yet, the work this outfit is doing to the student body of the university which hosts the most premier legal college in the country.

    If they go whole hog and really get their way and are very successful at molding these young minds, then in 20 years we may see the rise of fully legitimized court ordered PC reeducation. Perhaps even some sort of government facility where they could….concentrate… those with offensive and unapproved views.

  15. Nothing like a little Ivyleaguesplainin’ Somebody needs to check their privilege.

  16. Does Reason have the money to produce some placements featuring Hayek’s demolition of the entire concept of “social justice”?

    1. CATO had a good takedown on their podcast a few months ago.

      Basically, SJWs and Conservative Moralists both suffer from the same flaw ? no-one agrees on what the right moralism is and so society will be unstable until they accept libertarian tolerance.

      1. I think “social justice” is the schwerpunkt of the left these days. Libertarians should spend more energy attacking that, for maximum effect.

      2. Anybody notice that Social Justice Warriors seem awfully anxious to have someone else do the fighting for them?

  17. I wish I had the graphics chops to convert the placemat into a playmat along the lines of Twister, because SJW’s are constantly bending over backwards and twisting themselves in knots to be perfectly, perfectly politically correct.

    1. Mostly they seem to be twisting others into knots so that these people are perfectly to their liking.

  18. Isn’t distributing those mats a violation of their non-profit status?

  19. Further, only Chinese students received Chinese food on their sensitive placemats. In related news, Harvard’s American American students have succumbed to American American food and/or suffered head traumata from American football (… unless they didn’t because its a cheap copy of Rugby, which they don’t get to play). In further related news, the affirmative action problem just solved itself (as it turns out that American American students and American American food [and possibly American football] are sort of a mismatch). Well, except that the university now has to devise a scheme to get rid of the Asian and Jewish students. Tampering with yoga mats is under consideration.

  20. Spend a fortune sending my kid to Harvard for them to come back home after one semester to tell me I’m a fascist idiot. Good thing the fees included that placemat.

  21. Telling students what to think about the Syrian refugees

    Well it’s not like they’re adults who can think for themselves…

  22. Dubbed “Holiday Placemat for Social Justice” and described as “a placemat guide for holiday discussions on race and justice with loved ones,”

    …because nothing says “holidays” like hectoring your loved ones about all the prog-tarded “social justice” horseshit you’ve absorbed while away at college.

  23. Got a holier-than-thou vegan coming for the Holiday dinner? A mud-kissin’ greeny? Smack ’em up side the head with this!

    “Lettuce ‘three times worse’ for environment than bacon, new study says”
    […]
    “Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon,” Paul Fischbeck, professor of social and decisions sciences and engineering and public policy, told Carnegie Mellon. “Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/science/…..699787.php

    Link to study:
    http://link.springer.com/artic…..015-9577-y

  24. Harvard classrooms are an ideal place for professors and students to debate complex political issues.

    Oh, Robby, you’re so sweet and innocent and pretty.

    Back in the day, while sitting in section for a course on Confucian thought, the TA, a likable and well-meaning Chinese national, used the US rejection of the Kyoto Accords as an example of a violation of Confucian moral principle re: duty. He couldn’t seem to understand my objection when I asked him if that was the very best example given that not everyone shared the view that Kyoto would’ve been constructive or that accepting its terms would not have created immoral hardship on American citizens.

    Most classes were like that–no one forced the student to repeat shibboleths, but it was clear that anyone who questioned left-of-center assumptions or asked troubling questions like why we were reading Marx but not Smith was viewed as a malcontent who wanted to make his harried TF’s life even more difficult. Eventually I realized it was all a waste and just did my time, otherwise I was going to have to become Alex Epstein. That was before 9/11 and the current round of Kulture Wars, so i can only imagine how much the university sucks the will to live out of its students now.

    1. ^ this.
      Similarly, Tony shows up and tells us we only read news in our libertarian echo-chamber, as if we’re not bathing in it the entire 16 hours we’re awake.
      Pick up a (hard-copy) newspaper, read its on-line version, catch a TV show (and it doesn’t have to be news); you are immersed in statist blather.
      Yeah, all echo-chamber, all the time…

  25. That is extremely creepy to a sickening degree. Reminds me of something the Obama admin would do. Leftists are sicko creeps.

  26. I bet it came with crayons and a sippy cup. Luckily Harvard has already been forced to apologize.

    1. And blunt-ended scissors!

  27. It seems the administrators and bean counters want students to live off campus come their sophomore year. I am just guessing outside of the politics. Could it be that on-campus housing is more trouble than it’s worth and a net drain on the University’s finances?

  28. Social Justice League reports to the Ministry of Truth.

  29. The university experience is the culmination of throngs of sheep looking to government for answers.

    American minions are getting what they deserve. It would just be nice for them not to be such total fag pussies about everything all of the time.

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