Four Harvard Law School students say the university isn’t doing enough to stop people anonymously sending them racist and sexists texts and emails.
The messages, targeting women and Black students, were sent between December 2018 and March 2019, according to BuzzFeed News.
Chelsea Rooney, a white student, said she received a text message from an unknown number calling her a “horseface from Texas” and telling her to “gtfo.”
In one of the messages, from Gmail user “impeach mo,” a Black student at the university is told:
“you know you don’t belong here
you’re just here because of affirmative action
why even try
everyone at his thinks you’re a joke
but i guess your section is lucky to have a curve boost.”
That student, Mo Light, told BuzzFeed he reported the incident to police and a faculty member, who forwarded his complaint to Dean of Students Marcia Lynn Sells.
Sells said in a statement to Atlanta Black Star Thursday night that “although none of the four messages threaten any type of violence, their content is deeply offensive and disparaging.”
“Harvard Law School worked with the Harvard University Police Department and engaged an outside law firm to investigate these four anonymous messages,” she said.
Light told BuzzFeed his initial reaction to the message he received was: “‘Wow, this is upsetting,’ but it’s not surprising, given that this is just living while black.'”
A few months after the message was sent to Light, Chris Volcy, another Black student, was studying in the university’s law library when she received an anonymous email.
“We all hate u even the unfortunate few youve latched onto, at least u help out with the curve,” the anonymous sender said.
Volcy told Buzzfeed she also reported the incident but that Harvard police didn’t connect her report to those of other students.
“They made it seem like an isolated event,” Volcy said.
She added that she feels “unsafe” and “uncomfortable going to class.”
“It was all we could think about … all we could talk about, all we were focusing on, instead of our schoolwork,” Volcy told BuzzFeed.
Although Sells said Harvard will not publicly discuss details of the investigation “to protect the respective rights of all parties involved,” the university will continue “to promote a community in which all are supported and respected.”
“We have repeatedly expressed to our students how deeply we regret the hurt these messages caused, and we condemned and continue to condemn in the strongest terms any communication or action that is intended to demean people,” Sells said.