Harvard University’s student government voted to condemn the school’s newspaper for reaching out to a dastardly group for comment on one of its stories.
On Sunday, the governing body Undergraduate Council chose 15-13-4 to support activist crew Act on a Dream, which has called for a boycott of The Harvard Crimson over their bold move.
The sinister organization at issue? That would be America’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The whole situation began in September, when Act on a Dream held an Abolish ICE rally. The Harvard Crimson wrote a story on the event and reached out to ICE for its response.
As they noted in the article, “ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.”
That short line caused — brace yourself — outrage.
According to critics, the paper put illegal immigrants on campus at risk.
Here’s how the Undergraduate Council put it:
“We condemn actions or policies that endanger undocumented and immigrant students on campus, and we encourage the Harvard Crimson to revisit their policies and make adequate changes. It is imperative for the Harvard Crimson to commit to journalistic practices that do not put students at risk.”
So no journalism, then?
Shut your mouth — the Council also said it’s pro-journalism:
“With this stated, we understand that upholding journalistic standards within the Crimson is vital; however, we do not believe that upholding such standards and ensuring the wellbeing of students are mutually exclusive.”
But it also literally decided that they are mutually exclusive:
“The Undergraduate Council stands in solidarity with the concerns of Act on a Dream, undocumented students, and other marginalized individuals on campus. It is necessary for the Undergraduate Council to acknowledge the concerns raised by numerous groups and students on campus over the past few weeks and to recognize the validity of their expressed fear and feelings of unsafety.
“We condemn actions or policies that endanger undocumented and immigrant students on campus, and we encourage the Harvard Crimson to revisit their policies and make adequate changes.”
Putting aside Harvard’s particular situation for a moment, it may be worth noting that this trending word — “marginalized” — is a loaded one and, recently, frequently inaccurately applied. In most cases, the more appropriate word is “marginal.” What I mean to say is, “marginalized” suggests someone is acting upon a group to place them into the margins. Groups which are in the minority are not necessarily being aggressed.
However, it sounds as if some on campus have been moved against — by the paper for even attempting to speak with ICE.
As part of Act on a Dream’s protest, it won’t speak to the paper until it apologizes and makes a promise. Over 900 people have signed a petition demanding the Crimson say it’s sorry “for the harm they inflicted on the undocumented community,” and vow to “stop calling ICE.”
To be fair, the Council didn’t specifically endorse the boycott.
As stated by a student sponsor of the official post:
“This statement does not mention the boycott whatsoever. It is simply a stepping stone that we recognize the concerns of Act on a Dream and undocumented students on campus, and we can begin and continue having conversations with these groups and finding solutions.”
But the Crimson isn’t backing down. It’s still interested in writing with professionalism:
“Fundamental journalistic values obligate The Crimson to allow all subjects of a story a chance to comment. This policy demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that the individuals and institutions we write about have an opportunity to respond to criticisms in order to ensure a fair and unbiased story.”
This idea of putting people “at risk” seems to be a presently popular tool in shutting down political opposition.
I’m reminded of the Ben Shapiro speech which was stopped by college students chanting “Safety! Safety!”
When young people believe peril is the state accomplished by someone’s averse words or mere contact with a law enforcement organization, we’ve really reached a place of no perspective.
And that place seems to, as of late, be everywhere. Even at Harvard.
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