At least two minority student organizations have issued apologies after fake news regarding deportation circulated on campus scared students.
Notices from the imaginary “Harvard Special Investigations Unit” warned students that a student, residing in their dorm had been apprehended to be detained indefinitely. According to The Harvard Crimson, the notices were posted by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee and cosigned by Harvard Concilio Latino, the Harvard Islamic Society, and the Harvard Black Students Association.
“This is not a real notice,” the notice said on the back. “However, we hope that the unsettling nature of this notice allows Harvard community members to reflect on the reality of people who face these kinds of unwarranted disruptions of life in unexplained suspicious circumstances before a state power that can hold ‘suspects’ indefinitely.”
Reportedly, numerous students were outraged with the way the notices were distributed and how they deceived some students into believing the news was true. The outrage prompted the Palestine Solidarity Committee and Concilio Latino, to issue apologies.
Co-president of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, Fatima M. Bishtawi, wrote in her email that she “would like to unequivocally apologize for any trauma and pain provoked by the seriousness of this notice,” The Harvard Crimson said.
In a joint statement Monday evening, the board of Concilio Latino wrote: “[The fliers] are fake, but the effects they may have had on any of you are beyond real and represent something entirely antithetical to what Concilio stands for.”
Concilio Latino further elaborated that it did not have complete knowledge of the exact contents of the fliers before they were distributed on campus.
Members of the Black Students Association and Islamic Society did not respond to The Harvard Crimson’s requests for comments.
Notably, this is the second time the Palestine Solidarity Committee has evoked outrage for fake notices. According to the College Fix, the student association also stirred controversy in 2013, by posting mock eviction notices to rebuke Israel’s settlement policies and actions in the West Bank.