For 10 years, Subramanian Swamy taught an economics course at Harvard University's summer school. Swamy earned his own Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, and he went on to become a prominent politician in India, leading - as he still does - the country's Janata Party.
And for a decade, his political views didn't seem to matter to anyone at Harvard. Until this summer, when Swamy wrote a fiery op-ed in the Daily News & Analysis of India calling for a particularly Hindu solution to wiping out Islamic terrorism. Annex parts of Bangladesh, he wrote. Prohibit conversion from Hinduism to any other religion. Mandate learning Sanskrit.
(The op-ed was subsequently removed from the paper's website. A link to a version of the op-ed has been reposted here.)
The op-ed didn't sit well with several students who called for his ouster. Harvard's president, Drew Faust, issued a statement supporting Swamy's right to free speech, and the matter seemed settled. Until last month, when a group of faculty effectively fired Swamy, without notifying him, by voting to remove his courses from the summer school catalog.
The move has ignited an even larger controversy at Harvard - one that pits extreme expression against academic freedom. Moreover, it has raised the question: Just how broad a universe of ideas should be welcomed at a university?
This program aired on January 4, 2012.