Harvard Exec ‘on Leave’ over Viral Video Showing Harassment of Biracial Neighbor

Theresa Lund Harvard University

Harvard executive Theresa Lund has come under fire and been placed on leave after she berated her biracial neighbor on video, asking her if she lived in university-provided or affordable housing.

A video of Theresa Lund, the executive director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, berating her neighbor has gone viral online. In the video, Lund asks her biracial neighbor if she lives in university or government-provided housing. The woman who filmed the video, Alyson Laliberte, said that Lund was upset because her child was running around and playing with chalk in the middle of the afternoon.

“We weren’t even being loud at all drawing with chalk,” Laliberte wrote in a Facebook post. “She followed me around and harassed me trying to get my information and apartment number as if she had a right to know. When I wouldn’t tell her she proceeded to ask me if I lived in the ‘affordable apartments’ of the building for Cambridge residents or if I lived in one of the Harvard owned apartments (which is all the same building anyways).”

As the Executive Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Lund helped to bring an interdisciplinary approach to understanding global humanitarian crises. The organization works to develop solutions to humanitarian issues.

Lund published a statement over the weekend, apologizing for her exchange with Laliberte. “I want to be accountable for my actions in a situation where I fell far short of my values and what I expect of myself,” Lund wrote. “This clearly wasn’t my best moment, and I have work to do to more consistently be my best self.”

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative announced on Thursday that Lund would be placed on leave. “It is within this context that I have been viewing the events of July 14th involving Theresa Lund,” Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Director Michael VanRooyen wrote. “I wish to make clear that HHI does not condone her conduct during the exchange with Alyson Laliberte and her family.” 

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