Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
68° Rockville, MD
The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

Lions On Film: What advice do you have for students entering your current grade next year?
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • June 2, 2024

Money doesn’t grow on trees
Money doesn’t grow on trees
Ari Kittrie, Managing Editor, Web • June 2, 2024

The end of the school year means juniors like myself will soon need to consider tuition prices for higher education across the United States....

Summer shouldn't be serious
Aliza Bellas, Managing Editor, Copy • June 2, 2024

Since I was seven years old, I’ve spent my academic years looking forward to my three-week session at Capital Camps each summer. Despite any...

Education miscalculation
Education miscalculation
Maiya Blumenthal and Aviv SteinJune 2, 2024

When I went to Israel with my family for the first time in the summer of 2018, I was captivated by the country. Not only did I love walking around...

Bring them home
Bring them home
The Lion's TaleJune 2, 2024

In the midst of all of the protests seen on various college campuses across the country, it seems as though the Israel-Hamas war has become even...

Sleep on it
Sleep on it
Gigi Gordon, Stella Muzin, and Maya GreenblumJune 2, 2024

Since the 20th century, sleepaway camp has been a staple in the American Jewish community. Many Jewish teenagers spend summers at camps all across...

Opinion: Harvard University’s new policy on political positions is detrimental to students

Harvards+new+political+stance+policy+stems+from+the+conflict+on+campus+caused+by+the+ongoing+Israel-Hamas+War.+
Wikimedia Commons
Harvard’s new political stance policy stems from the conflict on campus caused by the ongoing Israel-Hamas War.

When choosing where I plan to apply to colleges next year, I not only look at the educational and social experiences offered by a university, but also the school’s values. I consider whether or not that school gives time off for Jewish holidays, if they celebrate diversity and other important things. This is why Harvard University’s new policy on political positions does not align with what I look for in a school. 

On May 28, Harvard University’s Institutional Voice Working Group released a statement, saying that Harvard would now avoid taking positions on matters that are not “relevant to the core function of the university.” 

Harvard has been a hotspot for conflict regarding the Israel-Hamas War since the conflict began on Oct. 7, leading to this new policy. Specifically, Harvard’s President Claudine Gay testified in congress regarding anti-semetism on the school’s campus, and her controversial response led to her resignation. Additionally, the campus was one of many schools across the country where students in support of Palestine set up a multi-day encampment. These conflicts led to the university’s recent statement. 

One specific guideline Harvard set as a part of the statement was that the university would no longer release statements of empathy for victims on either side of any conflicts, as they did for the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Harvard is just one of a few schools to institute a policy like this, with other big name universities being Northwestern University, University of Chicago and Stanford University. 

This decision makes the college process much more difficult for many individuals, including myself. This policy means that in future conflicts, students will be unable to fully stand with their beliefs, as they will be unable to choose institutions that reflect those beliefs. Additionally, students will have to stand up for their beliefs without support, which can be isolating. 

Firstly, policies like this show a lack of empathy in the university leaders which is unattractive as I am looking for colleges. Knowing that the school I am attending will be unwilling to be sympathetic with murder – on both sides of the conflict – makes me feel detached from the university. 

Universities not making statements on political issues is also a problem because it results in a lack of guidance to students, politically and morally speaking. Students attend college to learn about and educate themselves, but not having guidance may make it more difficult to do so. I am not arguing that universities must take political stances, however they must draw the line between politics and morals. 

I would much rather know that a university does not align with my values than be left to guess what my future school believes in. 

— Stella Muzin

Additionally, college is an extreme financial investment, and it is important to me as a student that I am aware of who my money is going to. Having the peace of knowing that the institution – to which you pay upwards of 55,000 dollars yearly in Harvard’s case – is making decisions you align with using that money is a significant aspect of choosing a college.

For example, Evergreen State College is a school which made the decision to completely divest financially from Israel. As a zionist, this would highly impact my decision to attend such a school, as I would be uncomfortable knowing my tuition was contributing to anti-Israel beliefs. 

Another problem with a university policy of not taking a stance on political matters is that it stops the potential for charity and relief projects coming directly from universities. During the heat of the Russia-Ukraine war, Stetson University, along with many other schools, created programs specifically designed to open doors to Ukrainians who were displaced by the war. If these universities were to have had a policy similar to that of Harvard’s new one, they would have been unable to create these programs. 

Overall, a university must be strong in its ideology, enough so to stand up for its values even when they are controversial. I would much rather know that a university does not align with my values than be left to guess what my future school believes in. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Stella Muzin
Stella Muzin, Editor-in-Chief
Stella Muzin is eager to continue her work on Lion’s Tale as Editor-in-Chief after previously serving as Arts and Entertainment Editor. She's excited to continue designing spreads, editing articles and working with the rest of the staff. Outside of the newspaper, Stella is on the JDS Debate team and Swim team and is the president of the Political Discussion Club. In Stella’s free time you can find her binging reality TV or spending time with her family and friends. She's looking forward to a year of growth and improvement for the Lion’s Tale and can’t wait to be a part of it.  

Comments (0)

All The Lion's Tale Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *