Harvard dean ahead of conservative Charles Murray speech: His work lacks 'academic merit'

Charles Murray visited Harvard University for a speaking event, years after students protested and called him a "white nationalist."

An undergraduate advising team stated that Murray uses "pseudo-scientific work to justify a racist agenda."

The Harvard University Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science Claudine Gay said that Charles Murray has no academic merit on the day he spoke at the university.

According to The Harvard Crimson, when asked if Murray has academic merit, Claudine Gay stated, “No, I don’t, actually.”

 “I don’t look to Charles Murray as an exemplar of rigorous data science,” Gay said. Murray attended and graduated from Harvard University in 1965.

The social scientist and international best-selling author Charles Murray’s writings about IQ and the welfare state have been characterized as “racist” and “controversial” has caused tension at his speaking events on college campuses. When Murray was invited to speak about his new book at Harvard University back in 2017, students protested the event calling him a “white nationalist,” as previously reported by Campus Reform.

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Nicholas Whittaker, a junior at the time of this event told protesters what he felt Murray believed.

“He doesn’t just hate—or believe in the inferiority of—people of color and the working class; he also thinks that women are just generally less intelligent, less morally relevant than men. He says that women have played a proportionally tiny part in the history of the arts and sciences.”

Tensions were even higher at a different speaking event at Middlebury College in Vermont as Murray was physically assaulted. The incident, as reported by Campus Reform, sent a self-proclaimed Democrat professor Allison Stanger to the ER after a protestor physically assaulted her as she tried to help Murray.

“One thug grabbed me by the hair and another shoved me in a different direction. I noticed signs with expletives and my name on them,” she said. 

Murray was forced to livestream his speech in a private area while protesters banged on windows and set off fire alarms. 

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“I want you to know how hard it was for us to continue with fire alarms going off and enraged students and outside agitators banging on the windows,” Stanger stated about the event. “I thought they were going to break through, and I then wondered what would happen next. It is hard to think and listen in such an environment.”

Several months later, Middlebury College sanctioned 67 students for the demonstrations that occurred at Murray’s speaking event. At least 41 of the students would be punished for disrupting the event, and 26 students would face severe punishment for the physical confrontation.

Murray was scheduled to visit Middlebury College again to discuss his new book at the time, Human Diversity; The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class. He appeared on Fox & Friends to talk about going back to the school, and what he had to say about the incident that occurred three years ago.

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“It was a mess,” Murray stated, explaining how the professor trying to help was seriously injured. He further explained that he’s citing extensive literature and not citing his own opinions.

“’I try to bring some sanity back to the discussion of gender, race, and class, because we’re told any differences between the sexes and among ethnic groups and differential success, it’s privilege, it’s racism, it’s sexism. Well, partly, yeah. But it’s also partly biological,” he said. 

Murray spoke for a course series called, “Data Scientists, Data Professionals, Data Dissidents.” 

Gay isn’t the only one who believes Murray’s work is without merit. 

According to The Harvard Crimson, professor Joseph K. Blitzstein said that “Murray represents racist pseudoscience, not the ideals of data science.’”

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Murray responded to criticisms by telling the newspaper: “It’s really simple: Ask those who make that charge to give you a direct quote from anything I’ve written or said that backs up the allegation against me. I’ll comment on the record regarding any direct quote. I won’t respond to unsupported allegations. Nor should anyone ever.”

Campus Reform reached out to Harvard University, Gay, Blitzstein, but did not receive a response in time for publication. Murray declined to comment.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @mn_turn