Apparently it’s still 1934. Harvard cannot stand to have a poor, black, female student from Brooklyn wearing a cap and gown, let alone on its campus. That’s according to Chanequa Campbell, whose lawyer claims Harvard prevented her from walking after tying her to the alleged murder that occurred in Kirkland house last May. She pulled a Kanye West to our collective Mike Myers a fortnight ago when she told the New York Post, “Harvard is doing this to me because I’m black, I’m poor and I’m from Brooklyn.”
Okay. Right, it could be that Harvard might be more hesitant to pillory a student of a wealthy donor. It too seems possible she believes that because she is black the university is presuming her guilty whereas they might give white students the benefit of doubt. It appears she is not enjoying as much solidarity from the Harvard black community as she might like, though.
But what does Brooklyn have to do with anything? Everyone knows Harvard dislikes Staten Island much, much more. And Brooklyn is hot right now. There are plenty of rich kids living on daddy’s money in Williamsburg who attend or attended Harvard.
The AP story all but exonerates Campbell of any involvement or foreknowledge, however tangential, with the crime. Instead, it focuses on her youth in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, her success in high school, and her Harvard-contemporaneous globe trotting. The piece lacks any sources even anonymous sources from the Harvard administration, other students’ comments, or even her own family.
Campbell claims she didn’t know the local drug dealer Justin Cosby, who was allegedly murdered by Jabrai Copney according to police. Copney was the boyfriend of Chanequas’ friend who also attended Harvard, and while she told the AP she was at work and taking an exam at the time of the shooting there is no independent verification of the fact.
Universities tend to overreact when their students’ actions garner them bad press, even if the students eventually turn up innocent. Remember how those poor lacrosse players at Duke who were just trying to have an innocently debauched, raucous house party with strippers when all of a sudden they were accused of rape just because they were rich and white? In this case Harvard took “appropriate action,” and it is unclear if Harvard withheld diplomas or just refused to allow the two women to participate in the ceremony.
If you can verify that Campbell was taking a final at the time of the shooting on 18 May let us know.