Open Letter Calls on Harvard to Create ‘System of Accountability’ for Inviting Trump Admin Alums to Campus

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• November 20, 2020 3:10 pm


An open letter circulating at Harvard University demands the school create a "system of accountability" for hiring former Trump administration officials or inviting them to speak on campus, the Harvard Crimson reported Thursday.

Inviting Trump White House alumni to teach or speak on campus would legitimize the "subversion of democratic principles," the letter states. Consequently, it asks school officials to create "accountability guidelines" to vet those who worked in the Trump administration. The letter also requests that the school share the guidelines with students before the year's end. 

Harvard traditionally employs both Republicans and Democrats who leave the White House after an election. But President Donald Trump's "attack on truth" necessitates that Harvard administrators vet potential hires or speakers who worked for the president, according to the letter.

"The Institute of Politics at [Harvard Kennedy School], or any other center, has the responsibility to boldly confront Trump administration officials who are invited to speak at Harvard about their collaboration or passive acceptance of this attack on truth and fundamental democratic principles—or not invite them to speak at all," the letter says.

It's unknown whether a student or faculty member first penned the letter or how many have signed it so far, according to the Crimson.

Some Democrats have already targeted Trump officials as they begin to look for work in the final months of the current administration. In a Nov. 6 tweet, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) suggested creating a list of Trump White House alumni to hold them responsible for their "complicity." A new group, the Trump Accountability Project, created a website to do so, though the website deleted the list "in the spirit" of President-elect Joe Biden's call for unity.

Published under: Harvard