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Group Protests The Crimson’s Coverage of ‘Abolish ICE’ Rally

The Harvard Crimson's staff works at 14 Plympton St., between Grolier Poetry and Adams House.
The Harvard Crimson's staff works at 14 Plympton St., between Grolier Poetry and Adams House. By Delano R. Franklin
By Ruoqi Zhang, Crimson Staff Writer

Roughly 50 students demonstrated outside of The Harvard Crimson’s building Friday to protest the publication’s coverage of a Sept. 12 rally calling for the abolition of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Current and former Crimson editors organized the protest to support a petition demanding that The Crimson apologize for its coverage, cease requesting comment from ICE, and commit to “protecting undocumented students,” according to a Medium post by co-organizer Danu A. K. Mudannayake ’20.

The petition — started by student-led immigration advocacy group Act on a Dream last month — criticizes The Crimson for requesting comment from an ICE spokesperson for its Sept. 13 article, “Harvard Affiliates Rally for Abolish ICE Movement.” The article covers a protest hosted by Act on a Dream and quotes several students’ criticisms of ICE, including calls for its dissolution. The story notes that ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Friday protest coincided with Champagne Showers, The Crimson's annual celebration of its incoming leadership. Several protesters entered the building chanting "New guard, don't let us down" and "Champagne won't wash away undocu voices."

Mudannayake, a Crimson design editor, declined to comment for this story. Act on a Dream Co-Directors and former Crimson editorial editors Emily A. Romero '21 and Diego Navarrete '21 — who were also present at the protest, along with other members of their organization — also declined to comment.

Crimson President Kristine E. Guillaume ’20 wrote in an emailed statement that The Crimson welcomes reader feedback.

“We respect the right to protest The Crimson’s policies and welcome free expression of views different from ours,” Guillaume wrote. “In the past few months, we have met with representatives of Act on a Dream to hear their concerns and explain our approach. We always welcome feedback from our readers and from those we cover."

The Crimson requests comment from all subjects of a story in accordance with standard journalistic practices, according to Guillaume.

"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," she wrote.

Act on a Dream’s petition calling on The Crimson to apologize and change its policies has garnered more than 1,000 signatures as of Sunday night. Fifteen student organizations including the Phillips Brooks House Association, Harvard College Democrats, and Harvard Graduate Students Union–United Automobile Workers have also signed on.

Harvard’s Undergraduate Council also passed a resolution on Nov. 10 in support of Act on a Dream’s concerns about The Crimson’s reporting policies.

—Staff writer Ruoqi Zhang can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RuoqiZhang3.

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