Talk:Harvard University

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Former good article nominee Harvard University was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.

Edit Of The Day Year[edit]

Award goes to Fat&Happy for the words "social critic and mathematician" - please accept your award here. --Roxy the dog (resonate) 17:02, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

(I assume you meant to quote "mathematician, social critic, and serial killer", but with that understanding...) I add my praise. I once referred in a paper to "San Francisco inventor, editor, banker, and blackmailer Frederick Marriott", but this is way more funny. Slave -- fetch the barnstar! EEng (talk) 17:16, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
I just looked at the wiki page for my alma mater, and I'm not on the list of Notable Alumni. :-( Roxy the dog (resonate) 18:36, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, are you a mathematician-serial killer or inventor-editor-banker-blackmailer or butcher-baker-candlestick maker? I see ever-envious Yale alumnus Jerochman [1] has decided to counterbalance the "whitewash" (see see edit summary here) by, apparently, adding such criminals and Axis military leaders as came to mind. He's also taken the fun out of the Ted K. epithet, but I think we should let him have this one, no? EEng (talk) 19:03, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
P.S. I meant to invite everyone to help out, if the spirit moves you, at History_and_traditions_of_Harvard_commencements. EEng (talk) 19:09, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

that said ok it was true but not really pretty. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:29, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

Location of the university[edit]

'Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.' The introductory line does not mention the country of the university; a lay reader cannot be expected to know the states and cities of United States. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:17, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

A lay reader, however, can be expected to click on Cambridge or Massachusetts if he or she is unclear about where either is located. - Nunh-huh 16:45, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
True, but for the sake of completeness and convenience, it is unacceptable that such an important information be omitted. Likewise, wiki pages of all Ivy league and other major institutions in US - CMU, UCB etc. mention that they are located in US. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:27, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
The second sentence mentions Harvard is the oldest university in the U.S. Hot Stop (Edits) 14:30, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── None of this matters. Per MOS (though no time to chase down the specific point now) in running text states of the US are not qualified further, thus Cambridge, Massachusetts, not Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. It is expected that most readers will recognize the names of US states, and those that don't can, as already mentioned, follow the link. I believe a similar rule applies for counties of the UK. EEng (talk) 15:03, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 9 July 2014[edit]

Add Harvard Alumni - Joseph McGrath - Bachelor of Arts in Government Class of 1969, into notable alumni. He is the current president of Grantham University, a nationally accredited 100% online university based in Lenexa,KS. If you need any further information, please contact

ReliableEdits (talk) 16:55, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done Given the number of notable alumni Harvard has had, you need to be really notable to make this short-list. We don't appear to have an article on that particular Joseph McGrath at all, so he is also ineligible for the long-list at List of Harvard University people, let alone this short-list. - Arjayay (talk) 17:06, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Ebola reaction at Harvard[edit]

I added a note about the ebola travel ban -- I thought this was worth including as Harvard's a research university with a medical school -- and it's been reverted. I see that the article is semi-protected -- did I err in adding this without getting permission? valereee (talk) 16:24, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

The edit summary says not news...but clearly the Daily Mail, USA Today, Huffington Post, and American Bar Association think it -is- news. valereee (talk) 16:28, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Concerns over wording addressed...and can I say instead of deleting, why not edit or rewrite? Concerns over 'recentism' -- just because something happened recently does not make it recentism. This is a prestigious research university with a medical school. It's news that they've suspended university-sponsored travel to an area in response to an outbreak of disease currently being heavily researched. valereee (talk) 16:47, 21 October 2014
You're interpreting WP:NOTNEWS backwards -- I'm not saying this isn't news, rather that Wikipedia doesn't try to cover "the news". As well, WP:RECENTISM warns against the tendency to include a lot of recent stuff when, in general, articles should take the long view. As it is now, under "21st century", there are two passages: one about the installation of Harvard's first female president, seven years ago, and one about Ebola, seven days ago. That tells the whole story right there.
You certainly don't need permission to edit the article, and I hope this won't discourage you, but the article's purpose is to inform people about Harvard, and this development doesn't tell us anything, really, about that subject -- as the sources you've now re-added to the article show, many universities are enacting similar measures. As usual, because Harvard is so prominent, people think that Harvard's action means something about Ebola -- "Look, if Harvard's doing this, it must be serious!" or "Even Harvard is overreacting!" or whatever. In this sense, such material might belong in an article on Ebola and the current situation, but -- again -- if someone says, "Hey, I'd like to learn about Harvard", this isn't the sort of material they're looking for. It doesn't belong here, IMHO. IMHO = In My Harvard Opinion, of course.
BTW, the Daily Mail is borderline at best as a reliable source. EEng (talk) 18:01, 21 October 2014 (UTC)(UTC)
LOL on IMHO.  :) I'd still argue that a major/prestigious research/medical institution deciding to suspend travel to a site important in disease research is worthy of inclusion. I don't think the fact other 21st century events have been left off the page necessarily means this one isn't important to include, so I'd argue it doesn't tell the whole story right there. If there are other important stories, some editor should add them. And the fact that other universities are enacting similar measure also means nothing as to whether or not the item is relevant here -- they may be relevant on their pages, too. This story is being covered in the mainstream media, and in fact between your reversion and my rewrite received additional coverage. Whether someone chooses to interpret the story as 'If Harvard's scared, we all should be!' or 'Are they really sure they're a research center?' is also immaterial. valereee (talk) 19:06, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Glad you appreciate the humor -- usually it's an acquired taste. But I'll say it again: this titbit isn't about Harvard, but rather about Ebola. Here's the test: three years from now, what will someone reading the Harvard article learn about Harvard when they read this little fact? Nothing, because Harvard did what lots of other colleges did, and Ebola shows no sign, so far, of having any longterm effects (or short-term, for that matter) on Harvard different from its effects on other colleges. (If the headline was "Harvard Declines to Take Ebola Steps Enacted by Most Schools", that might be different.) Do you plan to add this material to the articles on MIT, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and Berkeley when they make similar announcements?
On the other hand, if you added something to Ebola article saying, "Beginning October 2014, many US colleges and universities began to discourage travel etc etc", someone reading that will learn about the attitude of a certain kind of institution at a certain point in the crisis, and that might be informative about Ebola, which is what a reader of the Ebola article wants.
Let's wait to hear what other editors think. EEng (talk) 20:17, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
I thought we were waiting to see what other editors thought? IMO this is NOT unimportant in understanding Harvard of the 21st Century. valereee (talk) 15:56, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  • See WP:UNDUE. Harvard has a history of several hundred years. This Ebola thing is a tiny nothing and should not get disproportionate attention. Jehochman Talk 16:00, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
Of course, you're just jealous it's not Yale getting all the attention. EEng (talk) 16:12, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with EEng that we shouldn't add this stuff per WP:RECENTISM. Just because something is in the news doesn't mean it's important enough to be included in an encyclopedia article. -- Calidum 16:02, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Okay, but it feels like protectionism of Harvard. This is a major research center with a top medical school that is remarkable -- and remarked on -- for allowing fear instead of science to form policy. I'll restate that I think this is significant, but I'll give on recentism for now. I think we should revisit if/when it's still being remarked on in future. valereee (talk) 16:54, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

I says a lot that you (apparently) assumed we all agreed with you (or were even aware of the possibility) that this is some kind of blight on Harvard's record. I guess if you believe that then you might think this is some important incident in Harvard history. I'm pretty sure none of the rest of us had even the remotest idea that's what you were getting at. EEng (talk) 21:21, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it's a blight on a record. I think it's a remarkable incident in the history of a research institution. valereee (talk) 23:52, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
You just said "This is a major research center ... that is remarkable -- and remarked on -- for allowing fear instead of science to form policy." Assuming that's true how would that not be a blight on its record? Otherwise, what was your justification for including this material? EEng (talk) 00:19, 2 November 2014 (UTC)


The following may perhaps be of interest:

--Tryptofish (talk) 17:53, 28 January 2015 (UTC)