Deportation notices causing panic on Harvard campus turn out to be publicity stunt

Deportation notices causing panic on Harvard campus turn out to be publicity stunt
Harvard Yard. (Image: Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons, Mancala)

Is it fair to call this another hoax? An example of hate speech? Whatever label you choose, you will undoubtedly agree the move was pretty lame.

The College Fix informs us that a “controversial method” for drawing attention to a panel discussion on incarceration organized jointly by the Harvard Concilio Latino, Islamic Society, Black Students Association, and Palestine Solidarity Committee. The method was to place copies of what looked like an official notice in dormitories:

The notice, which can be viewed here, was supposedly issued by the “Harvard Special Investigations Unit” and warns that “a resident of this dorm has been detained indefinitely due to suspicious actions, suspected violent inclinations, or suspicion of being a deportable alien.”

It turns out there is no “Harvard Special Investigations Unit,” but that didn’t stop students from “undocumented” families from panicking:

Karla V. Alvarado ’19, who noted that she had previously dealt with a similar situation because both of her parents used to be undocumented, described feeling troubled.

“I was upset mostly because I think [the flyers] didn’t take into account the feelings of people who have actually seen deportation notices or experienced the risk of deportation, or have loved ones who are at risk of deportation—their responses were not taken into account,” she said.

Cecilia Nunez ’20 said she agreed.

“As a member of the Latinx [sic] and black communities, I was really disturbed by the format of the flyer and how terrifying it was for students of color and undocumented students especially to receive the notice,” Nunez said.

The geniuses behind the flyers included on the back the helpful advice that “this is not a real notice,” but evidently few students read the back — which is probably just as well. The back of the flyer also contains a slew of unsubstantiated “factoids” about the oppression of minorities in America that are meant to inflame.


Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

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