The October 7th 2023 cross-border raid by Hamas into Israel marked a sorrowful event, resulting in the loss of over 1,400 lives and the capture of numerous hostages. This abominable act has been widely denounced as the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, evoking profound grief, outrage, and fear among Israelis, Palestinians, and sympathizers around the world. The ensuing surge in tensions has inevitably cultivated division and discord, even at esteemed institutions such as Harvard University, where contrasting perspectives on the matter have instigated wrongdoings.

On the night of the Hamas attack, a coalition of thirty-three students declared via an anonymous letter posted on Twitter that Israel was “entirely responsible” for the act of barbarity perpetrated by Hamas. The message indicates a disregard and ignorance for terrorism, murders, and kidnaps, and the public eye therefore has perceived it as immoral and deplorable considering Harvard students are held to a high standard. Bearing in mind the sensitivity and vulnerability of this topic, the letter wreaked absolute chaos.

Within days, the identity of the students involved were swiftly doxxed, leading to the malicious circulation of their private information online. Additionally, their families back home received menacing threats. Notably, Harvard alumnus Bill Ackman, along with several organizations released a blacklist, cautioning companies against inadvertently hiring the students. The intensity was amplified on campus when a truck drove around Harvard Square with a digital billboard prominently displaying the student photos and names under the title, “Harvard’s Leading Anti-Semites.”

The backlash towards Harvard aggravated as Harvard authority figures remained silent towards the War and subsequent scandal. Many donors pulled money, Lawrence Summers, a former Harvard president, openly condemned the leadership, and prominent figures, such as the Wexner foundation, publicly expressed their disappointment. On the following Monday, the president of the university, Claudine Gay, issued a delayed response openly rejecting hate, terrorism, and the “harassment or intimidation of individuals based on their beliefs.” Further, Gay asserted that Harvard University embraces a commitment to free expression, and does not punish or sanction people for expressing such views, but clarifies that such a response is a far cry from endorsing them.