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Pro-Palestinian Alumni Group To Withhold Donations In Support of Harvard Yard Encampment

The pro-Palestine encampment in Harvard Yard continues. Some pro-Palestine Harvard alumni will withhold donations from the University.
The pro-Palestine encampment in Harvard Yard continues. Some pro-Palestine Harvard alumni will withhold donations from the University. By Frank S. Zhou
By Asher J. Montgomery, Crimson Staff Writer

Some pro-Palestine Harvard alumni will withhold donations from the University in solidarity with the pro-Palestine Yard encampment, alumni organizers announced in a Crimson op-ed on Thursday.

Harvard Alumni for Palestine — a group of Harvard alumni “committed to the cause of Palestinian liberation,” according to their op-ed — said they will also withdraw consent for the University to display their names and work on Harvard promotional sites until their “core demands are met.”

The group demanded the University disclose investments, divest from Israel, and drop disciplinary measures against student protesters — the same demands leveled by Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine, the unrecognized coalition that established the ongoing encampment in Harvard Yard.

Harvard Alumni for Palestine also demanded that the University reinstate the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, whose status as an undergraduate organization was revoked late last month.

University spokesperson Jason A. Newton referred to a message sent by interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 to Harvard affiliates on Monday.

“Initiating these difficult and crucial conversations does not require, or justify, interfering with the educational environment and Harvard’s academic mission,” Garber wrote.

According to Hossam M. Nasr ’21, a co-organizer of the group, hundreds of Harvard alumni have signed the pledge to withhold their donations from the University. While Nasr said he didn’t know the exact number, he said the organization will soon be publishing a list of signatories who consented to be named.

“We believe we have the right and the duty to protect those students and to uplift their demands,” he said in an interview with The Crimson, adding that “we felt compelled to act to centralize and focus our efforts” after the beginning of the encampment and the University’s reaction.

Nasr said Harvard Alumni for Palestine was formed in October as a “collective of decentralized autonomous groups of alumni” who provided support to pro-Palestine students who faced doxxing attacks following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

“We have been the ones who were offering the resources and the protection to the students that the university failed to provide and continues to fail to provide,” Nasr said.

In late October, the University formed a task force for doxxed students, though students said they continued to feel a lack of institutional support and relied on one another and alumni for help.

Newton referred to the University’s statement condemning intimidation and doxxing.

“This is reprehensible and appalling behavior and does not represent the values of the Harvard community,” he wrote.

Nizar H. Farsakh, a member of Harvard Alumni for Palestine and a lecturer on international affairs at George Washington University, said in an interview with The Crimson that alumni hold a particular power in maintaining the school’s reputation.

“We play a pivotal role in recruiting and promoting Harvard,” Farsakh said. “A genuine concern we have is that we cannot, with a straight face or with a clear conscience, tell Arab and Muslim or pro-Palestinian prospective students that Harvard is a safe space for them.”

Farsakh added that he hopes the pressure from alumni will sway the administration to negotiate with encamped students.

“We’re proud of being Harvard alums because we believe it has a disproportionate impact on the world and we believe in the role it plays,” he said. “We believe that the outcome would be a correction from the administration to be on the right side of history.”

—Staff writer Asher J. Montgomery can be reached at asher.montgomery@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @asherjmont or on Threads @asher_montgomery.

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