Over six months after hundreds of Harvard affiliates received emailed death threats, many undergraduates await an official end to the police investigation into the source of the emails.
Last October, an email containing death threats hit the inboxes of more than 100 Harvard affiliates, disproportionately targeting women of Asian descent. Days later, the Harvard University Police Department confirmed that the emails originated overseas and did not pose a threat. About two months later, the department handed off an investigation to authorities in Germany, where the sender of the email had claimed to reside. One of the addresses associated with the threats had been emailing undergraduates for several months, and another address sent a correspondence on Christmas morning appearing to apologize in broken English for the previous threats.
Last week, HUPD spokesperson Steven G. Catalano wrote in an email that although the case was ongoing, HUPD was “done for now.” Catalano directed comment to the the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston office, where FBI spokesperson Kristen M. Setera declined to comment.
Leaders of campus cultural organizations and some undergraduates who received the death threats praised student groups’ response since last semester, but expressed a desire for further details about the police investigation.
“I and many of my peers who were deeply affected by this incident would deeply appreciate having final closure with the incident,” Gurbani Kaur ’18, who is currently taking time off from school, wrote in an email. Kaur expressed a desire that the individual or individuals responsible for the threats face not only punitive consequences, but also receive anti-discriminatory training and mental health counseling.
In the aftermath of the threats, many students criticized College administrators' response. Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana later acknowledged that administrators could improve communication with students and sent an email to undergraduates characterizing the emailed threats as “despicable.”
Although undergraduates praised subsequent progress of students and administrators who are organizing to improve the College’s current bias reporting system, they reiterated a desire for the close of the police investigation.
“I would like some closure to the event, but thankfully it’s not anything that is a daily thing that I have to face,” said Viet D. Tran ’16, co-president of the Harvard Vietnamese Association.
In an interview last week, Khurana said the College’s communications in this case depend largely on information Harvard receives from the authorities’ investigation.
“If it’s appropriate, we’ll communicate it broadly,” he said.
—Staff writer Ivan B. K. Levingston contributed to the reporting of this story.
—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.
Harvard Receives ThreatsHarvard and local police received threats by phone yesterday morning that bombs had been placed in the Kennedy School of
Cambridge Teachers Want Protection Because of the Recent Bomb ThreatsCambridge teachers stormed a School Committee meeting Wednesday night to demand bette protection in the schools for teachers and children
College Rolls Out New Bias Reporting SystemHarvard College’s Office of Student Life has introduced a revamped system for reporting incidents of bias, which features multiple reporting avenues and the option to submit anonymously.
Message With Possible Connection to 2014 Threats Surfaces
Harvard Officials Receive Non-Credible Bomb ThreatsSeveral University officials received emailed bomb threats Wednesday afternoon, though HUPD says they are not credible and no buildings have been evacuated.