Students from Harvard and Princeton are attempting to pressure their respective school administrations to ban Trump administration alumni from becoming fellows or faculty members by using open letters, documents obtained by the Daily Caller show.
A draft of a letter obtained by the Daily Caller and addressed to deans at Harvard and Princeton shows Princeton’s student body is also preparing efforts to prevent officials associated with President Donald Trump from joining academia. Screenshots of WhatsApp messages the Caller obtained also show that students heading up the effort are soliciting students and alumni, as well as those from other schools, to sign the letter.
The effort to ostracize former Trump officials from academia comes on the heels of Harvard students launching an open letter addressed to “President Bacow and Harvard University Deans and Leadership” earlier this week, as reported by National Review. The letter demands that Harvard establishes a “system of accountability” by the end of the year for officials looking to go from the White House to Cambridge.
The students are demanding this system hold former members and allies of the Trump administration accountable for the “subversion of democratic principles.” Under this “system of accountability,” certain Trump officials would be “disqualified” from “being hired by the school as faculty or fellows.”
Addressed to Harvard Kennedy School Dean of Faculty Douglas Elmendorf and Princeton School of Public and International Affairs Dean Cecilia Rouse, the draft letter shows the position stated in Harvard’s letter could spread across other Ivy League campuses and beyond.
The draft takes a more hard-line approach to how the schools should deal with Trump administration officials seeking a job in academia.
“We have learned and benefited from the perspective of many such former government officials and public figures, who served during administrations of both parties. We believe, however, that such an opportunity should not be afforded to any official of the current administration or other public official who has participated in or supported the baseless efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 election results,” the letter reads.
The drafted letter accuses the Trump administration of undertaking “baseless efforts… to discredit the entire electoral process.” “This corrodes the very foundations of our nation, and increases the risk of political violence,” the letter goes on to say.
It also accuses Trump administration officials of “focus[ing] on their own continued access to power, without regard for the will of the people or norms of good governance.”
“We ask that you join us in committing that the public policy schools you lead will not provide a platform for persons who have violated the integrity of their public trust by sowing disinformation and doubt about this election, and have thus placed their own benefit over the welfare of the nation,” the draft reads in its final paragraph.
Screenshots of messages sent over WhatsApp obtained by the Caller shows students are looking for signatories from “any public policy school,” and will accordingly update the deans to whom the letter is addressed.
Harvard’s open letter has already gone public and has been circulating through the Harvard student body through messaging applications such as WhatsApp, screenshots of message threads obtained by the Caller show.
The Harvard letter, presented as a Google form, also accuses the Trump administration of various affronts to Harvard’s values. At one point, the letter says “the Trump administration has trampled norms of free and fair elections and peaceful transfer of power that have defined our republic for over two centuries.” The letter also accuses the Trump administration of “complete disregard for the truth,” calling it “a defining feature of many decisions made by this administration.”
“That alone should be enough to draw a line,” the letter says.
“Harvard should stand firm with its stated commitments to a just Harvard and a just world, to free and honest inquiry in the unfettered pursuit of truth, the right to vote, a free and independent press, checks and balances, the peaceful transfer of power, and the rule of law with equal justice for all,” the letter goes on to say. “We believe that Trump administration officials who failed to live up to that standard have disqualified themselves from being hired by the school as faculty or fellows.”
The Harvard letter extends this policy to guest speakers who may be invited to campus. Harvard students are demanding the school “fully vet speakers” and hold former Trump administration speakers “fully accountable” by “boldly confront[ing] Trump administration alumni invited to speak at Harvard about their collaboration or passive acceptance of this attack on truth and fundamental democratic principles.”
The Harvard students also suggest that the school might “not invite them to speak at all” as another solution.
The draft of the letter to be circulated across schools obtained by the Caller does not include language of a review system for the Trump administration officials hoping to find employment at these universities, nor does it explicitly extend this policy to guest speakers on campus.
This is the latest of a growing effort to create what the students are calling “accountability” for former Trump administration officials.
The Trump Accountability Project seeks to “make sure anyone who took a paycheck to help Trump undermine America is held responsible for what they did,” and has been promoted by prominent Democrats on social media. Former Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan tweeted out a link to the Trump Accountability Project, saying, “Employers considering them should know there are consequences for hiring anyone who helped Trump attack American values.”
.@kaitlancollins just reported WH staff are starting to look for jobs. Employers considering them should know there are consequences for hiring anyone who helped Trump attack American values. Find out how at the Trump Accountability Project.https://t.co/7z4tDKsSQb
— Hari Sevugan (@HariSevugan) November 6, 2020
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also advocated for an archive of Trump allies on Twitter. “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future?” she asked.
Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future? I foresee decent probability of many deleted Tweets, writings, photos in the future
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 6, 2020
The Lincoln Project was recently locked out of their Twitter account for doxxing two of Trump’s lawyers. They were allowed back into their account once they deleted the tweet with the lawyers’ contact information captioned, “Make them famous,” with a skull and crossbones emoji. (RELATED: Pundits And Democrats Plan To Hold Trump Supporters Accountable)
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin also said Republicans “now promoting rejection of an election or calling to not to follow the will of voters or making baseless allegations of fraud should never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into ‘polite’ society.”
Any R now promoting rejection of an election or calling to not to follow the will of voters or making baseless allegations of fraud should never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into “polite” society. We have a list.
— Jennifer ‘the people have decided’ Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) November 6, 2020
“We have a list,” Rubin added.