After several editors of The Student had personal information posted online, the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) voted to call on the administration to take further action to condemn doxxing, reiterate its harms, and protect student speech.
The call to action took the form of a letter — sent to President Michael Elliott, Chief Student Affairs Officer and Dean of Students Angie Tissi-Gassoway, and Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Sheree Ohen on Tuesday — asking the administration to communicate to faculty and alumni that “it is unacceptable to contact current students in an aggressive manner.”
The letter was approved by a near unanimous vote, with one senator abstaining.
Earlier this month, the opinion editors and one of the editors-in-chief of The Student published a statement announcing a change in editorial policy due to a recent influx of opinion pieces on the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. The policy, which has since been rescinded, would have allowed editors to add context or decline to publish opinion pieces that they believed perpetuate violence against Palestinians.
Following this statement, their personal information was posted on a pro-Israel Instagram account. The editors have since received threatening and offensive messages on social media, they said.
Soon after, Elliott sent an email to students, faculty, and staff to reiterate the college’s core principles, emphasize the importance of open discourse, and condemn the harassment of students.
However, given the severity and harmful impacts of the doxxing, AAS senators said administration’s response was inadequate. As a result, senators Ankit Sayed ’24, Phillip Zhou ’24, and Hannah Kim ’25 proposed a letter to demand further action.
During the meeting, the senators said more should be done to highlight the harms of doxxing, intimidation, and the suppression of academic freedom. Furthermore, they said administration must act to protect the rights of students and their ability to speak freely without undue consequences.
The letter has two main calls to action. First, the AAS urges administration to send a message to all Amherst alumni and faculty, asserting that it is unacceptable to engage in harassment, intimidation, and doxxing. Second, the AAS asks the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to emphasize that cyberbullying has no place on campus, as well as reiterate the consequences of harassment and the resources available to victims of harmful speech.
After the AAS senators discussed the letter and heard public comments, several revisions were made to the original draft of the letter. The AAS first decided to ask administration to use the college’s legal resources and services to actively protect victims of doxxing and harassment.
The letter was also amended to include other actions that endanger free expression. In response to concerns that students who support Israel feel uncomfortable sharing their views, the letter was changed to reference intimidating Fizz posts that called out Jewish students by name and made them feel unsafe.