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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."




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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.