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Harvard Police Closes Investigation into Racist Attack Against UC President

Undergraduate Council President Michael Y. Cheng '22 lives in Quincy House.
Undergraduate Council President Michael Y. Cheng '22 lives in Quincy House. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By J. Sellers Hill, Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard University Police Department closed its investigation into a racist attack against Undergraduate Council President Michael Y. Cheng ’22 that took place in Quincy House last month.

After two signs calling Cheng a racist anti-Asian slur and bearing the phrase “SAVE THE UC” were discovered on Cheng’s door, HUPD began investigating the incident as a “bias-related suspicious act.”

In a pair of emails to The Crimson Wednesday, HUPD spokesperson Steven G. Catalano confirmed the investigation had concluded. He did not disclose if a perpetrator had been identified.

“The investigation is closed,” Catalano wrote. Asked for clarification on the results of the inquiry, he wrote, “It was closed at the conclusion of the investigation.”

Overwhelming support for Cheng poured in following the attack last month. Quincy House Faculty Deans Eric Beerbohm and Leslie J. Duhaylongsod penned a statement of support, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Women’s Association authored a letter of solidarity, which was co-signed by 24 student groups.

Cheng was elected UC president in November following a campaign that promised to “defund” the body and rewrite its constitution. His inauguration, and several UC meetings since, have been marred by conflict.

In a UC meeting the week of the attack, Cheng rejected a statement of solidarity by the Council, calling it hypocritical. Cheng speculated that the perpetrator was a UC member.

In a statement Wednesday, Cheng expressed his gratitude to HUPD investigators.

“I really appreciate the professionalism, dedication, and attention to detail of Captain Negron and Detective Surette,” Cheng wrote. “The fact that Captain Negron and Detective Surette spent weeks tirelessly searching for the truth, which still is our highest aspiration at our university, reinforces my faith in humanity.”

—Staff writer J. Sellers Hill can be reached at

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