On Dec. 6, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted by a large majority to exclude Indian economist Subramanian Swamy's courses from this year's Harvard Summer School offerings. The proposal, brought forward by Comparative Religion Professor Diana L. Eck, referenced Swamy's inflammatory op-ed published last year in the Indian newspaper Daily News and Analysis. In the piece, Swamy calls for the destruction of mosques as retaliation for terrorist attacks in India, as well as the disenfranchisement of Indian Muslims who refuse to acknowledge Hindu ancestry. Swamy's op-ed clearly constitutes hate speech, by even the most lenient definition. As a matter of principle, there is no place for hate speech in the Harvard community. Regardless of whether Swamy's article actually has the ability to incite violence, the worthless, hateful bile contained therein itself ought to disqualify the man from teaching at our University. The faculty's decision to remove Swamy from the teaching roster was wise, just, and reasonable.
For better or for worse, the Harvard name has the ability to lend authority, legitimacy, and gravitas to anyone wielding it. Indeed, Swamy has been known to invoke his status as a Harvard professor to bolster his image in India. Considering that Swamy uses whatever prominence he has as a platform to malign the world's Muslims, trumpeting a thickheaded and violent brand of Hindu hyper-nationalism, Harvard must not continue to add legitimacy to his name. Swamy has shown himself to be unfit to be a member of the Harvard community, and we are thrilled that he will not be teaching this summer.