Two minority student organizations have apologized for posting fake deportation notices from a fictitious “Harvard Special Investigations Unit” as part of a campaign initiative.
The Harvard Crimson reported that the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee placed the flyers undergraduate dorms. The approach was backed by the Harvard Concilio Latino, Harvard Islamic Society, and Harvard Black Students Association.
“We regret to inform you that a resident of this dorm has been detained indefinitely due to suspicious actions, suspected violent inclinations, or suspicion of being a deportable alien (i.e. questionable residency status),” the flyers, which also included information about a panel on incarceration, read.
Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee posts fake deportation notice. Hilarity ensues. https://t.co/MAlptgkpcO
— Alex Joffe (@DrAlexJoffe) April 12, 2017
Though the back of the notices mentioned that the deportation warning was fake and meant to get the reader to think about the hot-button issue, the initiative sparked widespread outrage.
In a joint statement released Monday, Concilio Latino claimed they were unaware of the flyer’s verbiage and regretted any harm or distress it may have caused students.
“[The flyers] 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,” the statement obtained by The Crimson said.
The Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee also apologized for their role in the campaign. The student organization took to Facebook on Tuesday to apologize for the campaign which they said was meant to “communicate that these issues are real, they’re jarring, they’re emotional, and that is the reality.”
The statement continued:
“As organizers of this initiative, we would like to unequivocally apologize for any trauma and pain provoked by the seriousness of this notice. Regardless of the intent behind it, the notice was hurtful for many people, and we apologize for leaving many students vulnerable to the emotional burden of facing these notices with no way of knowing immediately that they were not real.”