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Harvard faculty member found ‘hateful and obscene’ note insulting her ethnicity and immigrant status

2019-09-29

A female faculty member at Harvard University found a note bearing hateful language insulting her immigrant status and ethnicity, school officials said.

On Thursday, the faculty member, who hasn’t been named, was returning to her office in the company of graduate students when she saw a note that was pinned to her door.

The message contained “hateful and obscene language that insulted her ethnicity and immigrant status, challenged her right to be at Harvard, and wished her ill,” according to a joint letter signed by Harvard President Lawrence Bacow and Dean Claudine Gay.

In the statement, which was addressed to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences community, Bacow and Gay wrote that the school “unequivocally” condemns all forms of hate speech, and urged anybody with information to contact Department’s Criminal Investigation Division.

“Attacks of this kind are both personally damaging for those who experience them and an assault on our faculty’s fundamental commitments to academic excellence,” they wrote, adding that people who commit such acts of hate are trying to disrupt Harvard’s academic mission.

“Acts of bigotry and malice harm us all because they corrode the trust and respect that is essential to the open exchange of ideas,” they added. “As faculty, students, and staff, we all have a stake in ensuring that this is an educational community that lives the values of tolerance, civility, and inclusion that are essential to our work.”

The Ivy League university has made headlines recently for diversity issues in its student body.

In 2014, a group group called Students for Fair Admissions filed a lawsuit accusing the school of discriminating against Asian-American applicants. Closing arguments for the case wrapped in February, but the judge has yet to issue a decision.

According to its website, this year 46% of freshmen admitted were white; 25% were Asian-American; 15% were African-American; and 12% were Latinx.