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Nearly 80 Harvard scholars have signed a letter accusing the university administration of refusing “to actively protect the free speech of Palestinian, Arab, Black and Muslim students.” They say the institution’s “failure to … condemn the killing of Palestinian civilians, is to willfully ignore the fact that it is Palestinian and allied students who are being targeted on our campus.”

The open letter—published Wednesday by The Harvard Crimson and signed by professors, lecturers, postdoctoral fellows and others—is addressed to Harvard president Claudine Gay. It especially criticizes Gay’s comments in the first days following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israelis, saying those statements “reproduced the differential valuing of Israeli and Palestinian lives.”

Asked for comment Thursday, Harvard only forwarded Gay and another official’s more recent statements.

This adds to the criticism Gay is receiving both from those who want her to criticize Israel and those who want her to criticize Hamas—or want her to denounce the institution’s own students for defending Hamas.

The first-year president has faced pressure since numerous student groups signed a controversial open letter that said Israel was “entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”  Fox News reported that more than 350 Harvard faculty members signed their own open letter, saying the students’ letter “can be seen as nothing less than condoning the mass murder of civilians based only on their nationality.”

The new letter says Hamas committed “massacres” and that its offensive “caused unjustifiable and condemnable civilian casualties.” But it adds that the “violence did not begin then. Systemic Israeli state violence has defined Palestinian life in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 1948.”

It says students’ safety has been endangered by “doxing trucks” showing their names and photos in Harvard Square.

The university pointed to a video statement Gay released a week ago, in which she said, “Let me be clear. Our university rejects terrorism—that includes the barbaric atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.”

“And our university embraces a commitment to free expression,” Gay said. “That commitment extends even to views that many of us find objectionable.”

Signatories of the new letter said they appreciated that video but tell Gay they “remain dismayed that you have not once mentioned the words ‘Palestinian’ or ‘Palestine.’ Your words and actions in the days to come will have a huge impact on all our students, on our campus, and indeed across the country. Publicly stating that you see our Palestinian students in their suffering and humanity can make a palpable difference.”

It calls on Harvard leaders “to publicly and unequivocally condemn the intimidation and harassment of Palestinian, Arab, Black and Muslim students and other supporters of Palestinian liberation at Harvard”; denounce “racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia, including antisemitism and anti-Palestinian racism”; and “hold responsible all those involved in the attacks against our students and provide adequate measures to protect them.”