Harvard campus activists demanded an apology from the student newspaper for the basic journalistic practice of seeking out a comment from ICE for a story concerning a campus protest against the agency.
Student leaders at the Crimson, the student newspaper of Harvard University, published an editorial this week in which they refused to apologize for their decision to request a comment from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a recent report on a recent campus rally in which Harvard activists called for ICE to be abolished.
Student activists immediately condemned the decision. In a petition, the student activists accused the Crimson of jeopardizing the safety of their peers. “In this political climate, a request for comment is virtually the same as tipping [ICE] off, regardless of how they are contacted,” the petition read, which was signed onto by ten student organizations. “The Crimson, as a student-run publication, has a responsibility to prioritize the safety of the student body they are reporting on — they must reexamine and interrogate policies that place students under threat.”
On Tuesday, student leaders at the Crimson announced that they won’t apologize for including a comment from ICE. “Last month, The Crimson covered a rally organized by campus group Act on a Dream that called for the abolition of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” the editorial reads. “During the course of our reporting, Crimson reporters requested comment from ICE — a decision that has proved controversial with many of our readers. We stand behind that decision, and we wanted to share with you our thinking.”
In the editorial, Crimson leaders explained that their communications with ICE did not jeopardize the safety of students. They explained that it is standard practice for them to seek out a comment from the target of campus protests.
Let us be clear: In The Crimson’s communication with ICE’s media office, the reporters did not provide the names or immigration statuses of any individual at the protest. We did not give ICE forewarning of the protest, nor did we seek to interfere with the protest as it was occuring. Indeed, it is The Crimson’s practice to wait until a protest concludes before asking for comment from the target of the protest — a rule which was followed here. The Crimson’s outreach to ICE only consisted of public information and a broad summary of protestors’ criticisms. As noted in the story, ICE did not respond to a request for comment.
This is not the first time that immigration has been a hot-button topic on Harvard’s campus. Breitbart News reported in September 2017 that 31 Harvard professors were arrested during a pro-DACA protest effort that involved blocking traffic on a busy street. Breitbart News reported in May 2019 that Harvard held a special graduation ceremony for undocumented students. The ceremony was organized by a group that wants to abolish ICE.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more updates on this story.