HARVARD’S EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
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.