Doxxing of Harvard Students is a Threat to Free Expression, Says PEN America.
Personal Information Was Circulated on Websites and a Billboard Truck Displayed Students' Names and Faces
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(NEW YORK)—PEN America today called a doxxing campaign against Harvard University students “an undeniable threat to freedom of expression.”
Kristen Shahverdian, PEN America’s senior manager of free expression and education, said: “Exposing students’ private information and intimidating them into silence is an undeniable threat to freedom of expression. We strongly condemn the harassment of any students, regardless of their viewpoint, and we encourage other universities to follow Harvard’s lead in promoting safety and security for their campus community. It is of the utmost importance for campuses to support students’ free expression and maintain the space for open dialogue at a time of deep pain and divisiveness.”
Following the backlash to a controversial joint statement about violence in Israel and Gaza that was signed by over 30 student groups, a billboard truck drove through the area surrounding Harvard’s campus on Wednesday displaying the names and faces of students accused of signing the statement and labeling them as “antisemites.” The truck also displayed the link to a website where additional students were named.
At least four websites have been circulated throughout the week that have included extensive personal information about students, many of whom were Muslims and people of color, including names, social media profiles, and hometowns. Several people who have been doxxed reportedly did not sign the statement and several student groups have rescinded their endorsement.
Harvard administrators have closed campus to non-ID holders after dark and have condemned the doxxing attacks, which they have deemed “intimidation.” They also provided students with links to digital safety and therapy resources.
PEN America has developed a guide for how to prepare for and respond to doxxing.
About PEN America
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. To learn more visit PEN.org
Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057