- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Covering both sides of the story is standard journalistic practice, but the Harvard Crimson is being ripped for reaching out for comment to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Harvard’s student government voted to declare that it “stands in solidarity” with anti-ICE students, including the campus group Act on a Dream, who have demanded that the student newspaper stop reaching out to the federal agency.

“The Undergraduate Council stands in solidarity with the concerns of Act on a Dream, undocumented students, and other marginalized individuals on campus,” the statement said, according to the Crimson.

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The council vote Sunday was 15-13, with four abstentions.

“It is necessary for the Undergraduate Council to acknowledge the concerns raised by numerous groups and students on campus over the past few weeks and to recognize the validity of their expressed fear and feelings of unsafety,” said the council.

More than 900 students have signed a petition posted by Act on a Dream condemning the Crimson’s decision to call ICE for comment after a Sept. 12 anti-ICE protest on campus, saying it was “virtually the same as tipping them off” about illegal immigrants.

“This was the wrong call,” said the petition. “We are extremely disappointed in the cultural insensitivity displayed by The Crimson’s policy to reach out to ICE, a government agency with a long history of surveilling and retaliating against those who speak out against them.”



The group called for the Crimson to apologize, to stop contacting the agency for comment, and to make a commitment to “protecting undocumented students on campus.”

Crimson president Kristine E. Guillaume, class of 2020, said in a statement that the newspaper’s staff has met with Act with a Dream “to hear their concerns and explain our approach.”

“Fundamental journalistic values obligate The Crimson to allow all subjects of a story a chance to comment,” Ms. Guillaume. “This policy demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that the individuals and institutions we write about have an opportunity to respond to criticisms in order to ensure a fair and unbiased story.”



Laura S. Veira-Ramirez, who described herself as an undocumented student, quit her post as an editorial editor last week over the flap, accusing the Crimson of adhering to “oppressive journalistic norms.”

Society for Professional Journalists President Patricia Gallagher Newberry called it “wholly appropriate” for the Crimson to seek comment from the agency on the criticisms.

“You’re not calling ICE to call out an individual person who might be in our country without the documentation required by ICE,” Ms. Newberry told the Crimson. “You’re simply asking for it to respond in a holistic way to the Abolish ICE Movement.”

Reason’s Robby Soave said the anti-ICE concerns were “silly, and none of the activists have offered any evidence it is legitimate,” noting that “seeking comment from relevant parties is standard journalistic practice and ought to be commended.”

Both Act on a Dream and College Democrats have said they will refuse to speak to the Crimson until its policies are changed, the newspaper reported.

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