Magazine Article - Newsweek

Don't 'Jeopardize Free Speech That Is Fundamental' to Harvard, Says Prof

  • Meredith Wolf Schizer
| Jan. 24, 2024

Harvard professor and international relations expert Joseph Nye has had a long and distinguished career, working on the ground in the Carter and Clinton administrations as well as many years teaching foreign policy. His new memoir, A Life in the American Century (Polity Books), is a diary of his life, including his years in the university and government and his thoughts about where the U.S. stands in today's global world order. In this Q&A, Nye talks about his advice for the interim and future president of Harvard in the wake of Claudine Gay's resignation, which countries should be highest on our radar to prevent the threat of nuclear war, what role the U.S. should play in the Russia-Ukraine war and the significance of U.S. alliances in the Middle East and more.

Q _ Has Harvard's reputation been tarnished by the controversy about campus antisemitism and allegations of plagiarism against former President Gay?

 A _ Any time a president is compelled to resign, it is bound to tarnish an institution's reputation, but the fundamentals of Harvard's academic excellence have not changed. 

What advice would you give to Harvard's interim and future presidents? 

The next president must continue to pay attention to diversity but avoid bureaucratizing it or creating rigid rules. Since private universities are not bound by the First Amendment, a president can establish norms such as prohibiting calling for genocide of any people; but he or she must be careful that they do not jeopardize free speech that is fundamental to the institution. Private institutions can establish their own norms but should stay as close as possible to the First Amendment....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Wolf Schizer, Meredith. “Don't 'Jeopardize Free Speech That Is Fundamental' to Harvard, Says Prof.” Newsweek, January 24, 2024.

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