- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2002

Twenty-four years ago the book "Harvard Hates America" gave a vivid description of elitism run amok, an academic institution that held American values in contempt. Unfortunately, it appears that not much has changed since then.

Today is Harvard's graduation day. Many universities want controversial graduation speakers, but Harvard has outdone itself. Zayed Yasin, '02, is the former head of the Harvard Islamic Society. In 2000, he was one of the organizers of a campus fund-raiser for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a front for the terrorist organization Hamas. When the Holy Land Foundation had its funds frozen after September 11, Mr. Yasin said, the HLF's aid to families of suicide bombers was justifiable. His graduation speech originally titled "American Jihad" drew attention because of Mr. Yasin's past activities, his characterization of jihad as a "righteous struggle," in this speech, and because it was selected by a committee that has its own extremist views.

As Harvard Business school student Pat Collins told it on the op-ed pages of this newspaper on Monday, the chair of the selection committee, Richard Thomas, supports divesting Harvard's investments in Israel. Another committee member, Dean Michael Shinagel, told Mr. Collins in a meeting that, "It is not a black and white issue that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Hamas has done more good for the people of Palestine than their own government." Mr. Shinagel should read this newspaper once in a while. If he did, he'd know that Hamas is probably the bloodiest of the Palestinian terror groups and has claimed "credit" for about 60 of the worst terrorist attacks in the last two years, including the Passover Massacre in March.

Harvard has not condemned Hamas and other terrorist organizations for what they obviously are. University President Lawrence Summers has, so far, only sidestepped the issue by saying that, "Members of our community are free to express their diverse views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the conduct of the parties involved." One might strongly doubt the veracity of that statement just imagine the uproar a pro-Israeli speech would cause.

Harvard University tuition costs about $35,000 a year. Parents should ask what Harvard is giving them for their money. The answer is only more bad news. While many colleges offer Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs, which earn their members college credit and a commission in the military, Harvard does not even allow ROTC units to meet on campus and refuses to give credit for ROTC classes. Michael Segal's letter which appeared on this page Wednesday admitted that the "Vietnam-era restrictions remain in place" but concluded that "Harvard is the destination of choice for top-notch students doing ROTC training." Who does he think he's kidding? Apparently, Harvard still hates America.


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