The Harvard Crimson reported that this year’s Harvard freshmen were invited to take the “Class of 2015 Freshman Pledge” which states:
At Commencement, the Dean of Harvard College announces to the President, Fellows, and Overseers that “each degree candidate stands ready to advance knowledge, to promote understanding, and to serve society.” That message serves as a kind of moral compass for the education Harvard College imparts. In the classroom, in extracurricular endeavors, and in the Yard and Houses, students are expected to act with integrity, respect, and industry, and to sustain a community characterized by inclusiveness and civility.
As we begin at Harvard, we commit to upholding the values of the College and to making the entryway and Yard a place where all can thrive and where the exercise of kindness holds a place on a par with intellectual attainment.
Administrators said that the pledge should not be considered an informal honor code, and it was further emphasized that the pledge is entirely voluntary. Nevertheless, critics argued that “if a person opts out of the pledge, their decision to do so would be broadcast for all to see in the form of a blank, unsigned line amidst a sea of signatures.”
What do you think – does this voluntary pledge create unfair pressure to comply and stigmatize those who chose not to sign it?