Harvard University Director Is Filmed Harassing Mom And Her Biracial Toddler
Every day, we make snap judgments about the people we see. Whether we are interviewing a potential new colleague, or even just checking out an attractive stranger at a bar, someone’s physical appearance says a lot about them when it comes to first impressions. However, there are certain qualities which a person’s worth should never be based upon – including their skin color.
It’s also important to live and let live. Sure, it might be annoying to hear cheers from a football stadium after the local team wins or screams from a children’s playpark, but we share this world with eight billion other people, and they all have the right to live their lives in peace. A fact which was ironically ignored by Harvard University’s humanitarian director, Theresa Lund.
As the executive director of Harvard’s humanitarian initiative, you would assume that Lund is a person who cares deeply about social equality and justice – after all, it is her life’s work. But unfortunately, in a video clip recorded by Alyson Laliberte, it became all too apparent that Lund does not practice what she preaches when she verbally attacked Laliberte and her three-year-old daughter.
Dubbing Lund “another Permit Patty”, Laliberte shared the clip on Facebook and it has been viewed more than 1.4 million times.
Despite being renowned internationally for her work in advancing women’s rights in a number of sectors, Lund simply couldn’t deal with the fact that Laliberte’s daughter, who is biracial, was playing outside her home in the middle of the afternoon.
As children were unable to nap because of the noise, the “humanitarian” director decided to go outside and order the mom and child away from her property, and after doing so, she made a number of extremely prejudiced assumptions about them.
To see just how condescending – and arguably racist – Lund was for yourself, check out the video below:
In the clip, Lund says, “I’m sitting here because you’re preventing my children from sleeping.” The irked mother then implied that Laliberte and her daughter were deliberately making too much noise, adding, “Would you like me to do that to your kids?”
Realizing that Lund’s children had been left in the home so that she could confront her, Laliberte understandably answered, “Who is even watching your kids right now. Are you? ‘Cause you’re not, you’re here with me and my kid.”
It was at this point that Lund then accused Laliberte of being poor and implied that she had no right to be in the neighborhood. “Are you one of the affordable units? Or are you one of the Harvard units?” Lund said.
After recording the shocking and completely unjustified verbal attack, Laliberte took to social media to expose Lund’s actions.
“Y’all here is another Permit Patty trying to kick me off my own property because she’s having a hard time getting her kids to take a nap at 3:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday,” Lund wrote on Facebook and tagged herself at Harvard University.
Laliberte then made a point of adding that she and her daughter weren’t even making a particularly large amount of noise.
“[We] weren’t even being loud at all,” Laliberte wrote, before explaining that they were “drawing with chalk”.
“She followed me around and harassed me trying to get my information and apartment number as if she had a right to know,” the mother continued. “It was totally discriminating and racist of her… or maybe it was because my daughter is biracial who knows. I have no idea who this woman is and the fact that she thinks she has some kind of authority over me is crazy!”
“This woman’s house is no bigger than mine even if she lives in one of the apartments that are owned by Harvard,” Laliberte wrote. “Despite color, where I live, how much money I have she will be buried 6 feet under just like me… Why do people think they are literally better than others? Why does she think she has a right to make us move?”
Laliberte then asked people on Facebook if they could try and identify the woman – and they did not disappoint!
It didn’t take long for Lund’s job to become known because of Laliberte’s request.
The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative describes itself a research center aimed at “relieving human suffering” brought on by war or disaster.
Needless to say, people on the social networking website had a lot to say about Lund’s actions, particularly as she implied that the mother and daughter were poor despite knowing nothing about them beyond what they look like.
“When she asked do you live in the ‘affordable apts or the Harvard ones?’ was TOTALLY a dig and an insult. [It] had nothing to do with the argument at hand. [This] woman should be removed from her position as (whatever she does for HUMANITARIAN efforts for HARVARD, I apologize I’m not scrolling up lol) she’s an elitist SNOB… and does NOT belong in such a role,” wrote Tricia Zitano-Attruia.
“I wonder what company she works for?” questioned Joe Bill Curtis Jr.
Carol Rogers then replied with a link to Lund’s job and wrote, “So much for a ‘humanitarian’.”
Others slammed Lund for leaving her children home alone so that she could pick a fight with a total stranger.
“So she left her children unattended to harass you?” wrote Teresa Hainline-Hall. “Sounds like she [needed] to be arrested for neglect AND harassment.”
While Laliberte questioned Lund’s motives and suggested that they could have been racist, not everyone agreed with this.
“I think it’s sad that we treat each other like this, but racist? I don’t think it is… Just discrimination because you probably don’t look well off in her opinion,” remarked Soonerhawk Cole.
However, Cole’s opinion was challenged by Michelle Reese who wrote, “What the hell does looking well-off have to do with questioning a [mom] with [her] daughter about residency? That is assuming [she] is lower, and assuming is a form stereotype which comes from racist dogma.”
It was also emphasized in the comments section just how unreasonable she was being, given that it was only 3:30 in the afternoon.
“I’m not sure if she’s racist or not, probably not, but her asking if the other woman lives in ‘affordable housing units’ was rude and uncalled for. This woman shouldn’t expect for peace and quiet at 3:30 in the afternoon on a f**king Saturday of all days. She’s very clearly the one in the wrong. To call her racists? That’s a stretch. A raging b**ch? Yes.”
Some people, however, believed that Lund’s actions were racist: plain and simple.
“Y’all already know Harvard and those expensive ass schools are racist, the reports of how they treat their black students have been flowing out. They aren’t going to act any different outside of work smh.”
After the video, which was posted on Saturday, went viral and Lund was identified, the Harvard director spoke out about her actions.
Recognizing that her actions were unacceptable, and no doubt influenced by strangers calling for her to be removed from her position at Harvard University, Lund issued an apology.
On her personal Facebook page, she wrote that she was “terribly sorry” and added that she had apologized in person to Laliberte.
“What I said was inappropriate and wrong,” Lund wrote.
In an email to the Boston Globe, Lund also admitted that her behavior was unacceptable, writing: “I want to be accountable for my actions in a situation where I fell far short of my values and what I expect of myself. This clearly wasn’t my best moment, and I have work to do to more consistently be my best self.”
We can only hope that the backlash Lund has faced serves as a reminder that you should never make prejudiced judgments. Not only that, it is a testament to the importance of the old proverb, “live and let live” – otherwise you could become an international laughing stock like Lund and all the other “Permit Pattys” out there.