HAR­VARD’S EX­TRACUR­RIC­U­LAR AC­TIV­I­TIES

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS -

Change is descend­ing on the ivy-cov­ered halls. Har­vard Univer­sity has a new contest open to its stu­dents, staff and fac­ulty: the “Pres­i­den­tial Task Force on In­clu­sion and Be­long­ing: Re­vise the Alma Mater.”

The or­ga­niz­ers are ask­ing the Har­vard “com­mu­nity” to re­write “Fair Har­vard,” the school’s anthem, in use since 1836. The short take: Univer­sity of­fi­cials no longer want the word “Pu­ri­tans” to ap­pear in the lyrics, which in­clude the lines “Be the her­ald of light an the bearer of love, till the stock of the Pu­ri­tans die.”

The song was re­vised in 1998 to make the lyrics more gen­der­in­clu­sive, but they left the fi­nal line as it was. “We think it’s time for a change,” the cam­pus of­fi­cials ad­vise.

They are also seek­ing a “new mu­si­cal vari­ant,” not­ing that the alma mater tune it­self is based on an Ir­ish folk song. Hip-hop, spo­ken word and elec­tronic ver­sions are wel­come; the author­i­ties say they were in­spired to tweak the beat and de­liv­ery by “Hamil­ton,” the Broad­way mu­si­cal based on the life and times of Alexan­der Hamil­ton.

One tra­di­tional part of cam­pus cul­ture is safe, how­ever. For now, Har­vard’s motto — “Ver­i­tas” — can stay. The Latin word for truth “speaks to and on be­half of all mem­bers of our com­mu­nity, re­gard­less of back­ground, iden­tity, re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion or view­point,” the task force notes.

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