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Harvard Student Claims Racism Plays Into Ban From Campus



A Harvard University senior who lives in the dorm where a Cambridge, Mass.,  resident was fatally shot this month says school officials ordered her out of the building and told her she could not graduate, claiming she was singled out because of her race.


Chanequa Campbell is a friend of the suspect’s girlfriend, another Harvard student, but has no connection to the suspect or victim, her attorney, Jeffrey Karp, told the Associated Press.


She was ordered off campus this past Friday with little notice and without being told why, Karp said. She was allowed to gather only a few personal belongings from her room after receiving a no-trespassing order, he said.


“There is no citation to the student code, no citation to any law, no citation to any facts,”’ he said.


Harvard spokesman Robert Mitchell said in a statement that the school does not comment on an individual student’s status.


Campbell, a sociology major, lived in the dorm where 21-year-old Justin Cosby was killed May 18 in what authorities say was a drug-related robbery attempt. Jabrai Jordan Copney, a 20-year-old songwriter from New York City, has been charged with Cosby’s murder.


Prosecutors say Copney gained access to Kirkland House with an electronic card key given to him by a student. That key did not come from Campbell, Karp said. She was at an exam and work the day of the shooting and lives in a part of the dorm far from the scene, he added.


Copney is being held without bail after a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf on Friday in Cambridge District Court.


Karp did not know of any other student ordered off campus because of the shooting.


“I do believe I am being singled out,” Campbell told The Boston Globe for a story Tuesday. “The honest answer to that is that I’m Black and I’m poor and I’m from New York and I walk a certain way and I keep my clothes a certain way.”


Karp said Campbell was not available for an interview Tuesday. He would not say whether she has returned to her Brooklyn home or whether she remains in the Boston area.


In a report last month, a panel convened to look into whether campus police unfairly stopped Black people because of their race and said more work needed to be done to create a welcoming environment.


In 2004, police stopped and questioned a prominent Black Harvard professor who matched a robbery suspect’s description. Then, in 2007, police responding to noise complaints asked leaders of Black student groups holding a field day on campus to show their Harvard IDs.


Last year, a Black campus worker who lost his bicycle lock key said an officer drew a gun on him after he tried to cut off the lock.


Karp said Campbell has not been formally expelled, giving her hope that she would be able to attend the June 4 commencement.


“Our hope and prayer is that Harvard will reconsider and allow her to graduate,” he said, adding later that Harvard has “made it clear that their position is intractable.”


He also left open the possibility that Campbell may take the school to court.

Campbell fears her future has been put in jeopardy, her lawyer said.


“This has besmirched her academic reputation,” Karp said.

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