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Legion. An amalgamated journal.

The old name game

The Harvard Right To Serve campaign—a group of students who are travelling across the country in order to protest the exclusion of gays in the military—has started to pick up some media attention. Good on them: I fully support the cause, and, moreover, it’s nice to see students actually getting out on the streets and insisting on human equality in a way that is quite likely to make a practical difference. Unlike some of the self-aggrandizing bombast that passes for ‘activism’ nowadays, the Right to Serve campaign has a clear aim, a powerful message, and a clever organization. I have every hope that their trip helps policymakers and citizens realize just how arbitrary and harmful a policy Don’t Ask Don’t Tell really is.

One thing that still peeves the hell out of me, though, is why every single thing done by Harvard students has to have “Harvard” prominently displayed in front like some sort of legitimating credential. This is a national campaign exacted against a federal law and conducted in a way which has very little—if anything—to do with Harvard. So why is the Harvard name still hitching along there? Are all of us forever condemned to qualify every single thing we do with the Harvard seal? It seems to me that simply calling themselves the “Right To Serve Campaign” would universalize their appeal and remove the group from the ghettoized province of Ivy League exceptionalism.

Garrett Dash Nelson

June 1st, 2008 at 3:03 pm