At Harvard University, President Drew Faust is teaching by example. Her decision to allow the "Cultural Studies Club" to host a Satanic Mass on campus is an education in poor leadership, faulty reasoning, and institutionally sanctioned bigotry. This is not a glowing endorsement of academic freedom. It is bigotry hiding behind the mask of academic freedom.
The grown-ups at Harvard had an opportunity to teach that not everything that calls itself "academic inquiry" is such. They had an opportunity to teach that there are, in fact, things that should not be tolerated. Intervening on such occasions is not akin to "thought police" compelling uniformity. Intervention here would be an expression of civilized leadership and of genuine authority. By shirking that responsibility, President Faust teaches that acts of religious bigotry are permissible as long as those perpetrating them do so under the banner of academic freedom.
The Satanic Mass being hosted by Harvard is a direct affront to Catholics. It takes the central act of worship of the Catholic Church and mocks it. One does not need to be Catholic to see why this should not be permitted. One only needs to be human and honest.
Sometime down the road, another student group will decide to hold a "re-enactment" of its own. Their re-enactment--done under the banner of academic freedom--will mock some other religious faith or some particular racial group. It will be unabashedly hateful and filled with vitriol for a particular class of persons. What will President Faust do then?
From this day forward, there are only two options. Either every kind of hateful mockery is permissible at Harvard or only the hateful mockery of particular groups. There is a third option, but the time for that is running out. The third option is leadership.