Harvard University won't issue statements on 'public matters,' school president confirms

The working group that made the recommendation consists of faculty members from various departments across the university. 

Published: May 29, 2024 11:31am

Updated: May 29, 2024 2:30pm

Interim Harvard President Alan Garber has confirmed that the school will follow a report from an "Institutional Voice Working Group" that recommended the institution not "issue official statements about public matters that do not directly affect the university’s core function."

The working group consists of faculty members from various departments across the university. 

"There will be close cases where reasonable people disagree about whether a given issue is or is not directly related to the core function of the university," the group's report stated. "The university’s policy in those situations should be to err on the side of avoiding official statements."

The report alludes to situations like student protests. Harvard University was criticized for its handling of anti-Israel protest encampment. After 3 weeks of protesting, Harvard moved to break up the encampment. 

"Individuals within the university, exercising their academic freedom, sometimes make statements that occasion strong disagreement," the report stated. "When this happens, the university should clarify that they do not speak for the university and that no one is authorized to speak on behalf of the university except the university’s leadership."

Garber made the announcement in an email that he would accept the recommendations in the report, according to the campus newspaper.

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