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Harvard Police Investigate ‘Hateful’ Attack Against Faculty Member

University Hall houses offices of many FAS administrators.
University Hall houses offices of many FAS administrators. By Sung Kwang Oh
By Jonah S. Berger and Molly C. McCafferty, Crimson Staff Writers

UPDATED: Sept. 27, 2019 at 2:50 p.m.

The Harvard University Police Department is investigating “hateful and obscene language” posted on a faculty member’s office door Thursday, University leaders wrote in an email to Faculty of Arts and Sciences affiliates Friday afternoon.

The note insulted the unnamed FAS faculty member’s “ethnicity and immigrant status, challenged her right to be at Harvard, and wished her ill,” according to the email, which was signed jointly by FAS Dean Claudine Gay and University President Lawrence S. Bacow.

Harvard University Police were at the scene of the incident Thursday, according to the email, which also asked for tips to assist the ongoing investigation. The faculty member was with several graduate students when she first saw the posting on her office door.

Gay and Bacow wrote that they “unequivocally” condemn the “hateful act,” calling it an “assault on our faculty’s fundamental commitments to academic excellence.” They also wrote that such acts of bigotry are detrimental to the University’s academic mission and silence the “open exchange of ideas.”

“We will answer attacks on members of our community with every resource at our disposal,” they wrote.

Gay and Bacow wrote that they would not share “detailed information” about the incident out of concern for the faculty member’s privacy.

“This has been a very difficult 24 hours for this faculty member and the local department,” they wrote. “As we all find ways to support one another and to recommit ourselves to the values that define who we are as a community, we would ask that we do so in a way that is mindful of the need for privacy of those directly impacted.”

“In situations like this, restoring a sense of normalcy and security is a leading concern,” they added.

—Staff writer Jonah S. Berger can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jonahberger98.

—Staff writer Molly C. McCafferty can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @mollmccaff.

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