Recently, pro-illegal immigration activists at Harvard University slammed the school’s student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, for reaching out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for comment about a rally on campus calling for the abolition of ICE.
The student group “Act on a Dream” launched a “Harvard Crimson: Stop Calling ICE for Comment” petition that claimed the newspaper endangered students in the country illegally because ICE would allegedly retaliate against them for protesting.
“In this political climate, a request for comment is virtually the same as tipping them off, regardless of how they are contacted,” the petition stated. “We strongly condemn their decision to uphold a policy that blatantly endangers undocumented students on our campus. The Crimson, as a student-run publication, has a responsibility to prioritize the safety of the student body they are reporting on — they must reexamine and interrogate policies that place students under threat.”
The Crimson staff refused to apologize for doing its basic journalistic duty — reaching the other side for comment. But it appears other college students agree with “Act on a Dream.”
The results of a new survey released Monday found that almost two-thirds of college students say student newspapers have a duty to prioritize the safety of undocumented students rather than call ICE for comment.
The College Pulse survey asked 1,500 college students from across the nation: “Which statement comes closest to your views, even if neither is exactly right?”
“Student newspapers have a journalistic duty to reach out to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for comment about campus protests to abolish ICE” or “Student newspapers have a duty to prioritize the safety of undocumented students.”
Sixty-six percent chose the answer that student newspaper must prioritize the safety of undocumented students, while only 34 percent answered campus journalists should call ICE for comment.
The survey also found that College Republicans are more than three times as likely as college Democrats to say student newspapers have a journalistic duty to reach out to ICE, 68 percent to 19 percent, respectively.
But in a statement last week to The College Fix, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said that the agency “respects the rights of all persons to peacefully express their opinions” while still “remain[ing] committed to enforcing federal law as passed by Congress.”
“Claims that ICE targets persons for arrest due to peaceful protest are false, and individuals responsible for this false claim do a disservice to the communities they claim to represent by needlessly spreading fear through misinformation,” Cox wrote.
“Should the Harvard community wish to have a fact-based discussion as to what ICE does and does not do we would be happy to take part in that conversation. We routinely do so across the country and would be happy to discuss doing the same there should the Harvard community have interest in professional, factual public debate beyond the activist group misinformation,” he added.
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