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Harvard ‘threatens the lives and freedoms’ of students by letting Charles Murray talk

It’s an insult to Charlottesville?

Charles Murray is a libertarian social scientist who wrote a widely praised book about the decline of the white working class. He has half-Asian children with an ex-wife he met in Thailand.

He’s also a “white nationalist” who “doesn’t belong” at Harvard University.

The undergraduate student government’s black caucus is demanding the Open Campus Initiative, a student group that was formed to host events that “other groups are unwilling to have,” revoke its invitation to Murray to speak tonight.

Three black caucus representatives write in The Harvard Crimson:

For the Open Campus Initiative to invite Murray to campus and give him an unchecked platform from which he can participate in and legitimize a tradition of dehumanization of marginalized people—the same tradition that is responsible for the tragedy of Charlottesville (and America’s entire history of racial trauma)—is fundamentally at odds with who we should be as a College. We believe that this event is misguided, and urge Open Campus Initiative to cancel it.

They cite Murray’s designation as a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, owing to his much-misunderstood (and much-unread) writing on race and intelligence in 1994’s The Bell Curve (co-written, fittingly, by the late Harvard psychologist Richard Herrnstein).

It’s irrelevant that Murray has been invited to talk about Coming Apart, his book on the white working class:

Murray’s ideology is white nationalism and has always been white nationalism. He has never rejected the claims he makes in “The Bell Curve.” Open Campus Initiative invited a white nationalist to campus, and they cannot control what he choose to bring up in his talk. To assume that race, gender, and class will not ground everything that is discussed during this event is to forget who Charles Murray is. His entire ideology is tainted by white nationalism.

MORE: Open Campus Initiative dares Harvard to censor its controversial event

To let him speak is to let someone say things that aren’t factual, they claim:

Murray is not dealing with the facts. He is twisting the facts by presupposing a certain interpretation of them, one that completely overlooks the influences of racist social and political institutions on individual “success,” however that is measured.

If the event organizers care about the “lives and freedoms” of nonwhite and “other marginalized persons,” they will cancel his speech, the op-ed says.

Rather than students challenge Murray’s ideas at his own talk, the op-ed writers ask students to be “proactive inquirers, and to challenge the ideology that Murray represents” … by going to their own event Wednesday night where a “panel of experts” will tell an ideologically homogeneous audience why Murray is wrong.

The Open Campus Initiative previously hosted University of Toronto Prof. Jordan Peterson, who is controversial for his public stance against using gender-neutral pronouns.

One of the op-ed writers, Nicholas Whittaker, previously threatened the Harvard computer science club for its Valentine’s Day dating algorithm because it only included two genders. He was speaking then as chair of the BGLTQ+ Caucus, and threatened to pull the club’s funding if the algorithm weren’t made “strictly platonic.”

Murray tweeted Tuesday that he’s taking his safety on campus seriously.

Read the op-ed.

MORE: Harvard’s Nicholas Whittaker threatens to defund club over dating algorithm

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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