A common political strategy among environmentalists is called “sue and settle.” An environmental group will sue the EPA, alleging a failure to do one thing or another, likely something that wasn’t within the EPA’s powers in the first place. The lawsuit is collusive, so, after a decent interval, the EPA will agree to a settlement that results in a court order requiring EPA to do something that it wanted to do all along. This technique is wholly corrupt, but effective.
Something similar is at work when leftist students mount protests at leftist universities. Radical students make demands to which radical administrators are only too glad to accede. I have sometimes wondered, is the whole thing a put-up deal? Was the supposed protest against a “reactionary” administration set up with radical professors or administrators from the beginning?
Usually, we have no way to know. But at Harvard Law School, the truth is leaking out: left-wing students met with left-wing professors to plan their supposedly adversarial demands on the school. The creators of the Royall Asses web site, a group of intrepid non-left-wing Harvard Law students–I am old enough to remember when non-left-wingers were the majority at HLS!–have the story, due to a leftist student who had second thoughts:
The [student] movement turned radical, at least in part, we submit, because some of the most radical-left professors at Harvard Law School set out to use their students as puppets — to co-opt the movement, turning it into little more than a front group to serve the agenda these and other professors have been pursuing for years: to transform the school into a far-far-far-left institution.
Don’t believe us — believe your own eyes. Here are rough notes typed by one of the Royall Asses during a meeting held on Dec. 5 between protest leaders and radical-left professors. ***
The meeting involved at least a dozen Royall Asses (identified in the notes) and three left-wing professors. … During the meeting, two professors (Desan & Hanson) urged the students to take advantage of the “crisis” they’d created, and specifically urged them to play the race card to inflame passions. Hanson emphasized the need for the students to “[t]ake advantage of evident racism in the legal system and connect that to this law school,” in order to “[g]et people to the table because they have to respond based on the embarrassment.” Desan similarly emphasized: “Very important that this is about race — keep the focus there.” All three professors endorsed the idea that the students focus on “making people uncomfortable. That’s how you got here and you have to keep doing it.”
Hanson, in urging the need to take advantage of the crisis the students had created, commented that the leftists on the faculty had been “waiting forever to do this.”
There is much more, all worth reading. Whatever might be the case at other institutions, it seems clear that at Harvard Law, far-left students mounted a “rebellion” in concert with equally far-left faculty members.
But what about Harvard’s administrators? Were they in on the joke? The whole racial drama at the law school began with a supposed “hate crime” that was an obvious fake. I wrote about it several times, e.g., here and here. I even wrote to the Law School’s Dean, Martha Minow, volunteering my services as an investigator to unravel the supposed “crime.” She didn’t respond, of course.
What happened was that after a lot of initial hand-wringing about how terribly racist Harvard is, and after launching a supposed investigation into the “hate crime,” the law school’s administration went silent. The purported investigation was allowed to fade quietly away. No perpetrators were apprehended. The blindingly obvious fact that the “hate crime” was a hoax was never acknowledged. Instead, the school’s supposed “serious problem” with racism became an argument for more left-wing “reforms,” of the sort that far-left administrators and faculty members were happy to embrace.
It is a sad, corrupt story, but one that I suspect has played out at many campuses over the last year or two.