American universities continue to cave to pressure applied by politically correct campus activists hell-bent on erasing any vestiges of the past. Its most recent victim is Harvard Law School’s shield that is based on the family crest of Isaac Royall, a slaveowner responsible for establishing Harvard’s first professorship of law. But because the law school’s coat of arms includes three bundles of wheat taken from the Royal family crest, some Harvard students, faculty, and alumni want it removed because of its ties to slavery. This has been a controversy at the school since at least 2010 but finally reached its pinnacle with the formation of a social justice movement at Harvard: Royall Must Fall. The group’s modus operandi is “calling for the decolonization of our campus, the symbols, the curriculum and the history of Harvard Law School.” And now they have reason to celebrate. Harvard Law has announced that it will remove the offending crest:
Royall Must Fall applied pressure to the law school by sending an open letter urging the change because the crest “honors a slaver and a murderer.” In the letter, the group notes that Royall was responsible for the brutal torture and murder of nearly 100 slaves, 77 of which were burned alive and others hanged. The letter urged the seal’s replacement because it was a “visual reminder that this school was created by, and for, white men.”
Legal Insurrection points to another’s point of view regarding the shield. HLS Professor Annette Gordon-Reed specializes in the history of slavery and “was the first black woman elected to the Harvard Law Review.” She writes in her dissenting opinion:
Maintaining the current shield, and tying it to a historically sound interpretive narrative about it, would be the most honest and forthright way to insure that the true story of our origins, and connection to the people whom we should see as our progenitors (the enslaved people at Royall’s plantations, not Isaac Royall), is not lost.
Why do I think the current shield can—and should—be made to carry forward the story of, and our connection to, those enslaved at the Royall Plantation? For nearly its entire existence, the shield has sent no singular public message or had any function besides announcing the “arrival” of the Harvard Law School, generally viewed positively as one of the premier educational institutions in the world. Therefore, the shield is not, as I have heard it said in formal conversations about this issue and in informal ones, in any way akin to the Confederate flag or the Nazi flag. Individuals can say they feel it is, but if they do they ought to think seriously about, and associate themselves with, the problematic implications of that position…
But until the rest of these Harvard students catch up to this level of intellectual honesty, they will continue to carry the torch for social justice and demand the end to “white supremacist patriarchy” as they hold signs in protest claiming “the Civil Rights Movement was not enough” and plaster themselves on social media.
These protests are proving quite successful, however. Recently, Harvard announced that it will also drop the term “master” from academic titles because of the negative overtones of slavery. Plus, getting into Harvard is easier than ever if you’re a social justice warrior. The admissions rules have been changed to place a higher importance on community service rather than just looking at an applicant’s academic performance.
Pretty soon, it would seem, “veritas” will be the subject of controversy and need to be removed, because “truth” is likely the product of the white man and needs to be claimed as the property of a new generation of millennials who will decide what that means on an ever-changing, daily basis.