Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Sunday, December 25, 2016

A CHRISTMAS THOUGHT

I received the following message from a reader.  I have edited out the writer's name:

"My name is ****. I've been a long time reader of your blog (and at least one of your books). I am writing to ask what you think of an idea that I had - what if alumni of American colleges and universities contacted their alma maters' presidents and demanded that they declare themselves sanctuary campuses. Personally, I regularly receive calls from mine (******) asking for donations, so presumably they care at least a little bit that I think favorably of them. What do you think?"

I thought it was a splendid idea, so I went online, and very quickly discovered that the President of my alma mater, Harvard, had already turned the idea down flat at a Faculty meeting which took place during a demonstration outside [surprise, surprise.]  So I wrote the following letter to the person in charge of raising Harvard's billions:

25 December 2016
  
Richard McCullough, Ph. D., Vice Provost for Research
The Richard A. and Susan F. Smith
Campus Center, Suite 836
1350 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Dear Dr. McCullough,

            I write both as an alumnus of Harvard [AB ’54 (53), AM ’54, Ph. D ‘57] and as a former Instructor in Philosophy and General Education to urge you to intercede with President Faust to urge her to declare Harvard a Sanctuary Campus for the protection of undocumented students and other undocumented members of the Harvard community, including undocumented employees.  I shall not take your time by rehearsing the reasons for this action, with which you are, I am sure, quite familiar.

            I have almost no way of swaying your decision on this matter, save to say that so long as Harvard continues its decades-long failure to act in a progressive and morally defensible fashion on this and many other issues before the public, I shall refuse even to consider making a donation through your office. 

            Unfortunately I am not rich, and my refusal will therefore carry little or no weight with you, I recognize.  However, it is just barely possible that enough of us will take this stand to affect your decision-making.

            Yours sincerely,


            Robert Paul Wolff
            Professor Emeritus, Philosophy and Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts

I will be happy to start a pool on the question when Harvard will declare itself a sanctuary campus.  I should warn you that one time is already taken, namely When Hell Freezes Over [that one is mine.]

It gives me great pleasure to report that my son, Tobias', employer, The University of Pennsylvania, has in fact so declared itself.  


6 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

Why is there such a difference between Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania in their policies?

They are both elite, private universities. Maybe Harvard is a bit more elite, but the difference in elitism is not perceptible to most mortals.

I have no idea. This is a genuine question.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I am not sure. One reason may be that the President of Penn majored at Harvard in Social Studies, the program of which I was the first director back in 1960. :)

Charles Perkins said...

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/12/the-class-struggle-in-the-north-pole/

Class struggle in the North Pole!

Evan Mahl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Cathcart said...

I will write such a letter and will ask my classmate friends to do so as well. Thanks for the idea. Young Tom

LFC said...

Just glanced at the profile of Richard McCullough PhD:

http://vpr.harvard.edu/people/richard-mccullough-phd

He heads a "new office of Foundation and Corporate Development," meaning he raises $$$ from organizations and corps. presumably specifically to support research (given his title).

Which explains why I've never seen his name on a fundraising letter; the ones I get usu. come from the Harvard College Fund.

So I think the better recipients for a letter like Prof Wolff's prob wd be the Vice President for Alumni Affairs & Development (check exact title, but I think that's pretty close) or the exec. director of the Harvard College Fund, or both.