The Ivy Coach Daily

August 1, 2020

Helicopter Parents at Harvard

We support the cause of some of the parents of Harvard’s Class of 2022 but we believe it’s their children who should be leading the fight (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

Helicopter parents are alive and well at Harvard University. Apparently, a group of parents of members of Harvard’s Class of 2022 have organized to urge the university to decrease tuition in light of online instruction, change leave of absence policies, and better express why only a limited number of students can return to campus this fall. And while we absolutely understand these parents’ general concerns — and agree that colleges should not charge the same tuition for online-only instruction — we happen to believe their children would find more success in fighting this fight than their parents. These students, after all, are in college and it’s the students who have a direct relationship with Harvard.

Some Harvard Parents of Members of the Class of 2022 Are Organizing

As Juliet E. Isselbacher and Amanda Y. Su write in a piece entitled “Left Out of Fall Planning, Harvard Parents Send Demand Letters to Administration” for The Harvard Crimson, “The day Harvard announced in early July that it would invite only freshmen and select upperclassmen to campus in the fall, Yolanda Brown-Spidell said she wanted to discuss her ’host of feelings’ about the news with other parents. Hours later, she posted in the Facebook group for Harvard Class of 2022 parents inviting others to share their own reactions. ’I literally just offered to host a Zoom meeting so that we could create a space where we could just share as parents and talk about how we felt, how we were processing it,’ Brown-Spidell said. ’Within that Zoom call, organically, this organizing body was formed.’ Since that initial conversation — which 135 parents attended — the group has sent multiple letters listing their demands to University President Lawrence S. Bacow, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay, and Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana. Their first letter garnered 211 signatures.”

Their Children Are the Ones Who Should Organize, Not Them

But apparently — and unsurprisingly — these parents of the Harvard Class of 2022 aren’t getting much of a response from Harvard. And while we are sympathetic to their cause during these stressful times, allow us to remind them that their children earned admission to Harvard for a reason so if they want to create change, it’s best to push their voices to the forefront. The zinger in the aforementioned piece in The Harvard Crimson comes from Rachael Dane, a Harvard spokesperson: “Dane wrote that the College will continue to prioritize communication with enrolled students because its primary relationship is with them.” True statement.

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