Press Esc to close
Thursday 31 July 2014
News updated at 3:16 AM IST
Weather
Max: 28.4°C
Min : 20°C
In Bangalore
Generally cloudy

US civil liberties group cautions Harvard on action against Swamy

Washington, July 30, (IANS):

As the controversy over an article written by Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy snowballed, a US civil liberties group cautioned Harvard University on taking action against its Summer School instructor.

Swamy, who earned his PhD from Harvard in 1965, penned an op-ed published July 16 in Mumbai's DNA newspaper that advocated denial of voting rights to non-Hindus with the goal of stemming terrorist attacks in India.

Following the publication of the article, several Harvard affiliates circulated a petition calling on the university to end its ties with Swamy.  The petition has gathered 312 signatures to date and in a statement, the dean of the Summer School said that the school "will give this matter our serious attention".

But in a letter to University President Drew G. Faust, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a civil liberties group with a focus on academia, said the group is "concerned about the threat to freedom of expression" that may come about from that attention.


"The threat of a disciplinary investigation of Swamy stands in sharp and unflattering contrast to this admirable and appropriate understanding of the importance of freedom of expression in the academic community," Adam H.  Kissel '94, vice president of programmes at FIRE, wrote in the letter as cited by Harvard Crimson, the university newsletter.

Harvard has not explicitly said that it is investigating Swamy or that it has considered such an investigation.

Kissel wrote that an investigation of Swamy's article would go against Harvard's commitment to free speech, as outlined in the "Free Speech Guidelines" adopted by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 1990.

"If members of the Harvard community are given to understand that Harvard might begin an investigation-with possible disciplinary consequences-of the views they express, they likely will self-censor," he wrote. "This is precisely the result that a university dedicated to intellectual freedom must seek to avoid."

"Harvard must honour its own promises," he told the Crimson in a phone interview.
"Students have every right to protest for or against ideas in article, as does Harvard, but Harvard may not investigate or punish the expression."

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Villagers console each other as they watch a rescue operation at the site of a landslide in Malin...

Villagers console each other as they watch a rescue operation at the site of a landslide in Malin...

Barack Obama smiles as he talks about the economy at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City...

Barack Obama smiles as he talks about the economy at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City...

Rescue workers clear the debris at the site of a landslide in Malin village...

Rescue workers clear the debris at the site of a landslide in Malin village...

Palestinian man reacts next to the body of his relative...

Palestinian man reacts next to the body of his relative...

Palestinian boy comforts his father, whom medics said was wounded by Israeli shelling in Shejaia...

Palestinian boy comforts his father, whom medics said was wounded by Israeli shelling in Shejaia...

England's Whitlock competes in men's All-Around Artistic Gymnastics at 2014 Commonwealth Games...

England's Whitlock competes in men's All-Around Artistic Gymnastics at 2014 Commonwealth Games...

England's Stuart Broad celebrates with his teammates after running out India's Murali Vijay...

England's Stuart Broad celebrates with his teammates after running out India's Murali Vijay...

The debris of a hillock after a landslide triggered by heavy rains at Malin village in Pune ...

The debris of a hillock after a landslide triggered by heavy rains at Malin village in Pune ...

Siddaramaiah at the launch of a drinking water unit in Vidhan Soudha premises in Bengaluru ...

Siddaramaiah at the launch of a drinking water unit in Vidhan Soudha premises in Bengaluru ...

Over forty houses were buried in a landslide triggered by heavy rains at Malin village in Pune ...

Over forty houses were buried in a landslide triggered by heavy rains at Malin village in Pune ...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523