Harvard Law School ditches official emblem after student protest

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By Katie King on

American law students have more success than their Oxford counterparts


Harvard Law School has finally caved under the pressure of its relentless students — and has agreed to change its official crest.

For months, a campaign urging the prestigious American law faculty to change its official seal has rumbled on. Students expressed intense concern that the crest — which features three wheat sheaves — has strong links to slavery, and should be changed.

This well-publicised campaign is part of a wider ban culture present in universities and colleges across the country, and the world. Last month, a London law student even filed a motion asking for his uni’s free speech group to be banned — a telling example of this ever growing trend.

Late last year, Oxford University law student Ntokozo Qwabe led a particularly vocal campaign calling for a statue erected in honour of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes to be removed.

Qwabe, who was criticised by many for having accepted a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford, claimed the statue — situated at the front of Oriel College — was not only offensive, but at odds with the university’s inclusive culture.

Having considered the views and opinions of students and staff, the college’s governing body confirmed back in January that the statue would not be removed.

But for the Harvard students at least, it looks like their efforts have paid off. Months of protests and sit-ins have led to the law school’s committee recommending, by a majority of 10-2, that the emblem be changed. It did this because:

[I]f the Law School is to have an official symbol, it must more closely represent the values of the Law School, which the current shield does not.

Read the committee report in full: