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New College Is a Haven for Harvard Refugees

Not so fast. The Spritzler Institute for Technology is a better haven for disgruntled Harvard students. And MIT, and Stanford but not Princeton. I hate Princeton, those uptight stuck-up pencil-pushing dilettantes. And don't get me started about Yale.

The point is we're ready to accept your money (& believe me you'll be sending truckloads of it) and have tentured profs who drink my Kool-Aid ready to remove you from the Matrix.

New College Is a Haven for Harvard Refugees

We protect free speech, don’t make excuses for violence or anti-Semitism, and abolished our DEI bureaucracy.

By Richard Corcoran, WSJ

Nov. 8, 2023 1:16 pm ET

Anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head at Harvard. Since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of some 1,400 Israelis, Jewish students there have reportedly been bullied, intimidated, spat on and, in at least one case, physically assaulted. Student-led protests call for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people with chants of “Intifada! Intifada! Intifada!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free!”

These are some of the observations Bill Ackman, a Harvard alumnus and hedge-fund manager, made in a Nov. 4 letter to Claudine Gay, the university’s president. After meeting for several hours with students and faculty, he suggested how the administration might address this “dire” issue. “History has taught us that when the sparks and initial flames of antisemitism emerge,” Mr. Ackman wrote, “we must promptly put out the flames before a conflagration begins.”

He urged the university to act swiftly, but I wouldn’t hold my breath and neither should its students. Instead, those facing intolerance or physical danger at Harvard should come to New College of Florida, where they can study with free tuition thanks to a newly established scholarship program.

They will find that we prize free speech and condemn violence. Since Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed six new members to our school’s board of trustees in January, we’ve vigorously protected free expression on campus. We have enacted measures to stop ideological gate-keeping and enforce disciplinary actions against violence and threats. The administration believes that the right to speak freely doesn’t encompass the right to incite violence or to threaten others physically.

Our school likewise refuses to ostracize certain groups at the expense of others in the name of “diversity, equity and inclusion”—a misnomer for offices whose purpose typically is the opposite of what their name suggests. Mr. Ackman notes that Harvard’s Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging says in its “DEI Commitment Statement” that it welcomes “people of color, women, persons with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQIA, and those who are at the intersections of these identities.” In other words, Mr. Ackman writes, Jews and others not on the list need not apply—unless they fit one of the delineated identity buckets. An organization truly dedicated to “diversity” and “belonging” shouldn’t establish such narrow parameters for inclusion.

This regrettably is typical of DEI office charters, which often signal which groups are “worthy” of membership. We don’t tolerate that at New College. In February we dismantled our DEI office to ensure that no group is singled out for punishment or preferential treatment.

Authentic free speech is essential on any campus. That includes understanding that the First Amendment wasn’t intended to include, as Mr. Ackman described it, “knowingly advocating . . . violent insurrection and threatening a person or group of persons with the intent of placing the victim in fear of bodily harm or death.” New College is committed to the civil exploration of ideas. Violence isn’t part of that and never will be.

Reading Mr. Ackman’s letter, I realized that Harvard’s disrepair isn’t unique. A misunderstanding of free speech has led to the silencing of dissent and the promotion of certain narratives by academic elites across the country.

Things are different at New College, where genuine academic freedom and civil discourse flourish. Students from all backgrounds are welcome to join our community and experience an environment dedicated to upholding these values. Anyone suffering injustices at Harvard should visit our campus to learn about academic life in Florida—now on offer with free tuition.

Mr. Corcoran is president of New College of Florida.

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