Harvard Student Paper Condemned for Reaching out to ICE for a Comment on a Story

Harvard University’s Undergraduate Council voted to condemn the campus paper, The Crimson, on Sunday over its decision to reach out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for comment on a story.

In September, Harvard students participated in an event protesting the expiration of the Temporary Protective Status for immigrants from El Salvador.

The paper reached out to ICE for comment on the story, but the agency did not respond for comment, a fact which made it into the paper’s story.

When students saw that information, they created a petition, which received 900 signatures, to condemn the paper.

The Undergraduate Council stands in solidarity with the concerns of Act on a Dream, undocumented students, and other…

Posted by Harvard Undergraduate Council on Monday, November 11, 2019

The Undergraduate Council said on Monday that it had passed the condemnation of The Crimson for trying to get a comment from ICE. The condemnation passed in a 15-13-4 vote.

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

The council continued to say that The Crimson must “commit to journalistic practices that do not put students at risk.”

Katherine Guillaume, the President of The Crimson, defended the paper’s decision to try to get a comment from ICE:

“Fundamental journalistic values obligate The Crimson to allow all subjects of a story a chance to comment. 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.”

In October, the paper published “a note to readers” defending its decision to reach out to ICE. It read, “A world where news outlets categorically refuse to contact certain kinds of sources — a world where news outlets let third-party groups dictate the terms of their coverage — is a less informed, less accurate, and ultimately less democratic world.”