News

Science Retracts Paper by Dana-Farber President Over Discrepancies in Multiple Figures

News

Harvard Students Rally in Solidarity with Columbia Demonstrators Following Arrests

News

HUPD Says No Active Threat After Cambridge Police Officers Pursued Suspect Through Harvard Yard

News

‘A Real Loss’: Starlight Square to Shut Down After Four Years of Bringing Cantabrigians Together

News

Jeremy Weinstein Was Offered the Harvard Kennedy School Deanship. Who Is He?

Student Protesters Accuse Harvard Administrators of Surveillance at Palestine Vigil

Widener Library is located at the heart of Tercentenary Yard and is a landmark of Harvard's campus. Pro-Palestine student protesters accused Harvard administrators of attempting to surveil and identify students participating in a Friday afternoon vigil.
Widener Library is located at the heart of Tercentenary Yard and is a landmark of Harvard's campus. Pro-Palestine student protesters accused Harvard administrators of attempting to surveil and identify students participating in a Friday afternoon vigil. By Courtesy of Shanivi Srikonda

Pro-Palestine student protesters accused Harvard administrators of attempting to surveil and identify students participating in a Friday afternoon vigil for more than 100 Palestinians who died after Israeli forces opened fire on a crowd awaiting humanitarian aid.

Israeli and Gazan officials have given differing accounts of the event, with the Gaza Health Ministry attributing the deaths to Israeli gunfire and Israeli officials blaming a stampede toward an aid convoy for a majority of the deaths.

Nearly 100 students gathered on the steps of Widener Library to mourn the Thursday attack during the vigil, which was organized by Harvard Jews 4 Palestine, Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine, Harvard Graduate Students for Palestine, and Law Students for a Free Palestine.

During speeches at the vigil, student organizers — who did not identify themselves — alleged that Harvard administrators had attempted to solicit students’ ID cards and names.

“While admin is here, trying to scare us, take pictures of us, ask for our IDs — over policies that do not exist — we continue to be as steadfast in our commitment to justice,” one organizer told the crowd.

University spokesperson Jason A. Newton and College spokesperson Jonathan Palumbo declined to comment for this article.

Under interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76, Harvard officials have signaled that they will be less tolerant of student protests that violate University policies, including a prohibition on classroom disruptions.

In January, Garber and 15 other Harvard deans sent an email reiterating University policy on protests, a warning that was echoed in a follow-up email to undergraduates from Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana.

Student protestors have reacted by accusing the University of seeking to repress pro-Palestinian activism on campus as protests and rallies have persisted throughout the spring.

At the vigil, students placed pairs of shoes on the Widener steps to commemorate the lives lost in Gaza before blasting the University’s stance toward student protest in speeches to the crowd.

“Solidarity is not listening to the administrators who want to put on random rules to shut us down because they are afraid of our power,” said one student speaker.

Dean of Students Thomas Dunne watched from the foot of the steps as students chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Harvard will not silence us.” He declined to comment following the event.

Harvard Jews for Palestine wrote in a statement to The Crimson on Saturday that the vigil’s “heavily surveilled action” demonstrates the University’s “increasing suppression of pro-Palestine speech on campus.”

“We are appalled at the University’s attempt to surveil and punish students who are gathering to mourn the murder of innocent civilians,” the group wrote. “The intimidation of students at this action is a threat to all organizing efforts, including the ability to mourn in community, but that will not stop our expression of solidarity with Palestinian liberation.”

The Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, which was not involved in the organization of the vigil, wrote in a Friday statement that they were “disturbed to hear of surveillance and suppression by the university at the vigil.”

“Our administration continues to be more focused on surveiling students speaking out on this genocide, as opposed to giving students the space to mourn the disastrous loss of life in Gaza,” the group wrote.

As the vigil ended, organizers instructed students in attendance to “leave in groups” to avoid identification.

“We don’t show our IDs or give anyone our names because they don’t deserve that,” the organizer said. “This is not our last action for Palestine.”

Correction: March 4, 2024

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that more than 100 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces while awaiting humanitarian aid on Thursday. In fact, Israeli and Gazan officials have disputed whether the deaths were due to Israeli gunfire or a stampede.

—Staff writer Sally E. Edwards can be reached at sally.edwards@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @sallyedwards04 or on Threads @sally_edwards06.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags
CollegeStudent GroupsStudent LifeHUPDPolitical GroupsProtestsRakesh KhuranaAlan GarberFeatured ArticlesIsrael Palestine