Monday, June 19, 2017

Harvard's elephant in the living room

Harvard motto: Veritas... truth
Harvard University's decision to rescind admission offers to 10 incoming freshmen because of offensive Facebook posts comes at a time of heightened attention to free speech and student conduct on U.S. college campuses, and has stirred debate far beyond the halls of the Ivy League school.
Harvard University, the school that has reported increasing numbers of A's as the price of tuition rose, has popped a bubble of another sort. Should largely incoherent teenagers -- and which one of us hasn't been one? -- be held accountable for raucous, rude and insulting behavior/loud-mouthing? Even when it is as members of the anti-social network billed as bringing people closer together?

To borrow from Disney, who mashed up Shakespeare, "Bubble, bubble/Toil and trouble...."

Yes, there is free speech and there is something within that longs to speak freely, especially in a politically-correct era. Donald Trump is president, after all.

But yes, as well, there is something to be said for the old reminder, "Keep a civil tongue in your mouth." With any luck, Donald Trump's days are numbered.

When my mother heard the first use of "fuck" come out of my mouth in about the second grade, she sat me down and ran down every cuss word there was. She told me its literal meaning, its slang meaning and finally, she told me when I might use cuss words.

"You can use them with your friends. You can use them in front of me. But you may not use them in front of my friends."

When it comes to making decisions, that always struck me as sensible and equitable.

1 comment:

  1. Teenagers are famous for impulse control issues. But something has to get in their face to make them grow up eventually. Going to a cheaper school is better than prison.