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Editorials

In an Institutionally Neutral World, Expect Students to Speak Up

By Julian J. Giordano
By The Crimson Editorial Board
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.

Controversy resurfaced at Harvard yet again last week with the return of the doxxing truck.

The truck — which bore a strong resemblance to a similar vehicle from last semester — came after the student government at Harvard Law School passed a resolution calling for the University to divest from “illegal Israeli settlements.”

The outcry swiftly followed: The truck meandered around campus, plastering the names of the student government’s co-presidents on its billboard-like side, and social media posts exposing the information of involved parties proliferated online.

Beyond being alarmed at the harmful and dangerous doxxing that took place, we are even more concerned about accusations that the intimidation was abetted by students, who allegedly leaked their peers’ personal information to outside actors.

If we want our campus to become a bastion of free speech, students should debate their peers vigorously. Ad hominem arguments fail to help resuscitate our diseased campus discourse — nor do they benefit the argument any side favors.

With the same insidious form of doxxing from last semester yet again rearing its ugly head, Harvard must meet the moment with greater action.

Given the unfortunate reality that doxxing has become commonplace at Harvard since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, the University needs a formalized, faster procedure for supporting students impacted by external harassment.

Especially as the University’s working groups ponder adopting an institutional neutrality stance — a change to Harvard’s current policies that we enthusiastically welcome — student advocacy will assume a greater importance if University administrators are to remain silent.

When it comes to the University’s values, we will need student organizations to press Harvard and hold the school accountable. The HLS student government operated well within its purview since the resolution pertained to Harvard’s investments — a reflection of the institution’s values.

Student governments are the most sensible channel for activism in an institutionally-neutral world. But for their activism to be effective, their speech must be protected.

In the absence of Harvard taking public political positions, we should both welcome and expect further resolutions and political statements from student bodies, and demand Harvard give them the protection they deserve. Without that, there will be no more discourse to speak of.

This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.

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