This week, a truck drove around Harvard’s campus displaying the names and faces of alleged antisemites affiliated with student groups who signed a controversial statement on Hamas’ attack on Israel.
The Crimson reported that the vehicle also featured an internet address listing multiple full names associated with the organizations that endorsed the document.
The statement, released by the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, held Israel responsible for all ensuing violence and called on the Harvard community to take action against “colonial retaliation”.
It was sponsored by several student groups including the Harvard Islamic Society, Society of Arab Students, Jews for Liberation, Kennedy School Muslim Caucus, Bangladesh Caucus, Undergraduate Arab Women’s Collective, Sikhs and Companions of Harvard Undergraduates and Divinity School Muslim Association.
The letter provoked immediate outrage from Lawrence Summers – president emeritus of Harvard – who expressed his shock at its content as well as disappointment in the University’s failure to dissociate itself from it.
Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman also raised questions about whether or not Harvard would release a list of members involved in sponsoring this statement in order to prevent anyone from inadvertently hiring them.
“If, in fact, their members support the letter they have released, the names of the signatories should be made public so their views are publicly known,” Ackman added.
As of Thursday evening, The Crimson reported that nine student groups had retracted their signatures from the initial statement.
More from the student newspaper:
By Tuesday evening, at least four online sites had listed the personal information of students linked to clubs that had signed onto the statement, including full names, class years, past employment, social media profiles, photos, and hometowns.
As of Wednesday morning, at least two of those sites had been taken down for violating Google’s terms of service.
Accuracy in Media (AIM), a conservative media advocacy group, sponsored the truck that displayed names and faces of students, according to The Crimson.
Adam Guillette, President of AIM, declined to specify when the truck would leave campus; however he confirmed to The Crimson in a Thursday interview that it would remain on campus for an unspecified period of time.
Furthermore, Mr. Guillette stated that the truck was no longer displaying the names and faces of students.
The Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee called on university leaders to “immediately and unequivocally condemn the harassment and intimidation of its students,” as reported by The Crimson.
“The truck actively threatens students safety on campus at a time when credible death threats have already forced us to postpone a solidarity vigil acknowledging all civilian victims,” the PSC told the student newspaper.
“It is quite literally physical threat, a heinous intimidation technique, a warning sign meant to scare ideological allies into repudiating our mission — and for the Jewish members of associations linked to our own, an unjustifiable and insulting slap in the face,” the PSC’s statement to the Crimson continued. “The doxxing truck is the ugliest culmination of a campaign to silence pro-Palestinian activism that the PSC has experienced for years.”
Harvard Executive Vice President Meredith L. Weenick wrote in a university-wide email Wednesday evening that the college “takes seriously the safety and wellbeing of every member of our community” and “does not condone or ignore intimidation,” the Crimson said.
“We do not condone or ignore threats or acts of harassment or violence,” Weenick wrote, according to the student newspaper. “Officials within our Schools have been in contact with students to ensure they are aware of resources available to them if they are concerned about their physical safety or experience an immediate threat.”
On Wednesday, the Dean of Students Office emailed undergraduates to inform them that Harvard Yard will be closed off to non-ID holders from 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. until Monday as a precautionary measure.
The email also included information on how to adjust online directory privacy settings and provided access to Harvard’s 24/7 mental health support hotline.
In response to this, Harvard Hillel released a statement condemning any action that threatens or intimidates members of co-signatory organizations, according to the student newspaper.
Hillel strongly rejects the PSC’s statement and calls for accountability of those who signed it. However, we must emphasize that any such accountability should not result in public intimidation of individuals, which is counter-productive to the educational progress on our campus during this difficult time.