Letter From Harvard Community Calling For Encampment Protesters To Face ‘Significant Consequences’ Passes 500 Signatures

 More than 500 Harvard University students, faculty, alumni, and other affiliates have now signed onto a letter urging action against escalating anti-Semitism on campus.

Sent to interim Harvard President Alan Garber Tuesday, the letter calls for“significant consequences” for the leaders of the 20-day anti-Israel encampment in Harvard Yard.

“While some have tried to associate the encampment with the long history of protests on Harvard’s campus, this one is distinct for its calls for violence and its active and targeted disruption of the lives of an identifiable group of minority students,” the letter states. Signatures are still being collected.

The letter comes after members of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences overwhelmingly voted to allow 13 students to graduate despite their suspension or probation for participating in the encampment. The Harvard Corporation broke with the faculty on Wednesday and declinedto give the degrees.

The letter claims students documented “numerous instances of inappropriate and egregious conduct, including harassment, denial of equal access to common areas on Harvard property, and threats of violence towards Jewish and Israeli students or their allies.”

Some Jewish and Israeli members of the Harvard community avoided walking through Harvard Yard to avoid anti-Semitism, and first-year students have complained that they have been unable to focus on their studies because of the disrupters, according to the letter.

“Some took extended breaks from campus before the end of the spring semester because they felt unsafe,” the letter states.

The encampment ended last week after the university negotiated with the protesters, reportedly agreeing to leniency for those facing disciplinary action and allowing encampment leaders to meet with governing boards about divesting from Israel.

The letter expresses disappointment over several professors’ participation in the protest, accusing them of creating a hostile learning environment. 

“The involvement of Harvard faculty in these encampments, endorsing and sometimes leading teach-ins and chants, has created an unsafe learning environment for many Jews and Israelis,” the letter states. “This not only contradicts Harvard’s commitment to an inclusive educational experience but also emboldens extremist elements within our student body.”

During the encampment, Harvard Yard was largely restricted to university affiliates until a community member used bolt cutters to open a gate and allow 150 protesters onto campus, according to campus police. The letter describes this situation as a “severe escalation” that risked a crisis by bringing outside agitators onto campus.

Complaints were also raised regarding the encampments’ so-called “marshalls” — students in yellow vests claiming they are ensuring people’s safety.

“Additionally, self-appointed encampment ‘marshals’ in Harvard Yard have been stalking people who appear to be Jewish, speak Hebrew, or simply speak to other people who look Jewish,” the letter states.

Although Garber condemned intimidation and harassment from the encampment earlier this month, the letter states that the “galling acts” continued. 

“[T]he actions that culminated in the 20-day occupation of Harvard Yard have been poisoned by dehumanizing rhetoric and calls to violence against Jewish and Israeli individuals,” the letter states. “In addition, they have chanted for the ethnic cleansing of Israelis, and for violence against Jews. And they have held signs declaring ‘from the water to the water, Palestine will be Arab,’ along with large maps depicting the entire State of Israel as an imagined “Arab Palestine.” 

The letter also describes a “chilling” protest on Sunday outside of Garber’s home.

“For those of us who witnessed the march to your house on 5/19/24, the experience was particularly terrifying. President Garber, over 200 people stood outside your home, the residence of a Jewish family, and chanted ‘globalize the Intifada’ and ‘Intifada coming to America’. The scene was chilling.”

The letter states that Garber’s current punishment of students is not enough, and accuses the university of rewarding their behavior with meetings while not giving the same to pro-Israel students.

“Not only have the consequences for these encampers been insufficient, they have actually been rewarded for their blatant disregard of Harvard policy,” the letter states. “According to the Crimson, in exchange for ending their illegal encampment, HOOP members were offered a meeting with at least one member of the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility.”

Other demands in the letter include that the university publicly condemn anti-Semitism, enhance its investigative process, and enforce penalties.

Nearly 500 Harvard affiliates — including 350 faculty members — signed onto a letter Monday condemning the disciplinary action taken against the anti-Israel encampment protesters.

Letter From Harvard Community Calling For Encampment Protesters To Face ‘Significant Consequences’ Passes 500 Signatures Letter From Harvard Community Calling For Encampment Protesters To Face ‘Significant Consequences’ Passes 500 Signatures Reviewed by Your Destination on May 23, 2024 Rating: 5

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