Harvard Grad Union Considers Emergency University Funds for 'Doxxed' Students Who Blamed Israel for Hamas Terror

(Julian J. Giordano/Harvard Crimson)
October 16, 2023

Harvard's graduate student union is considering a plan to make emergency relief funds available to students who were "doxxed" after signing a statement blaming Israel for Hamas's terrorist attacks, according to a resolution obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The union's contract with the university requires Harvard to set aside money for graduate students facing unexpected hardship, such as a medical emergency or family crisis. The resolution, which is set to be debated Monday evening, would allow students who have faced blowback for their vicious anti-Israel advocacy to apply for up to $1,500 a piece, funded not by union dues but the university's own coffers.

"This backlash has directly exposed students to ongoing harassment and doxxing attacks," the resolution says. "Harvard donors and alumni have threatened students' current and future employment."

It is not entirely clear how the tuition-backed funds would be used, though the resolution implies they could serve as a stopgap for students who lose jobs over their condemnation of Israel—or, as the resolution puts it, "Occupied Palestine." Harvard's graduate student union did not respond to a request for comment.

The union's proposal comes as the university is seeking to quell alumni furor over its slow and mealy-mouthed response to the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel's history, which left over 1,300 people dead and plunged the region into chaos. After 34 student groups, including some represented by the union, put out a letter blaming Israel for the massacre, former Harvard president Larry Summers said he was "sickened" by the school's institutional silence. The university eventually issued multiple statements condemning the attacks—but not before hedge fund CEO Bill Ackman demanded that Harvard release the names of the student groups' members so that his company could avoid hiring them.

The names have circulated on social media, and at least one student at another university, New York University Law School's Ryna Workman, has already lost a job over her support for Hamas.

Harvard is also facing blowback from professors and longtime donors. Three-hundred-fifty faculty members have signed a statement condemning the student groups' letter as well as the university's tepid response to it, and the Wexman Foundation, a Jewish philanthropic group, announced on Monday that it would be cutting ties with the school over its "dismal failure" of leadership.

"Our core values and those of Harvard no longer align," the foundation said. "We, like former Harvard President Larry Summers[,] cannot 'fathom the administration's failure to dissociate the university and condemn the statement'" that held Israel responsible for the attacks. Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer is also severing ties with the school, citing its "apparent unwillingness to recognize Hamas for what it is."

The union resolution could put Harvard in an even more precarious spot, forcing it to choose between placating activist students and satisfying irate donors. Though the union can decide how to disperse the emergency funds, per its contract with the university, any grant must be approved by the administration. If students demand compensation for the consequences of their anti-Israel speech, Harvard will have to decide which constituency—the students facing backlash or the donors fomenting it—the university would rather offend.

Other elite schools are in a similar bind. Several prominent alumni of the University of Pennsylvania, including former ambassador Jon Huntsman and Law & Order producer Dick Wolf, have said that they will stop giving to the university over its muted response to the Hamas attacks. Donors to Cornell, Stanford, and New York University have also pressed their alma maters to take a more forceful stand, the New York Times reported on Monday, leading some schools to issue follow-up statements about the violence.

This is not the first time the Harvard union has found itself at odds with the university. Several of its members, including union president Koby Ljunggren and vice president Amulya Mandava, led a highly publicized campaign for stronger sexual harassment protections at the Ivy League school, deadlocking contract negotiations and raising concerns about due process. That campaign prompted the university to place one of its star anthropology professors, John Comaroff, on unpaid leave amid allegations of sexual misconduct—even after the school's Title IX office had cleared him of every serious offense.

Beyond demanding emergency relief, the union resolution calls on Harvard to divest from Israeli companies and "end its complicity in Israeli apartheid policies."

"'This is a crisis,'" the resolution says, quoting a statement from Jewish Voices for Peace. "'The Israeli government has declared a genocidal war on Palestinians in Gaza.' Harvard University must take action."