A Response to calling people out over email.
Early this past Sunday morning at 2:26 AM, March 1st, the email that has had all of Harvard talking for the last few days was received over an underground mailing list. The message was short and simple.
Subject Line: “Dear Ten man”
Body: “Thought that was a party suite? EOM”
Yes, that was the entirety of the original email. Shots were fired. Shade was cast.
For those unfamiliar with the story, a student decided to publicly complain about the lack of parties hosted by a particular Harvard suite. There is an unspoken rule that the larger suites on campus will host several parties during the year because there aren’t very many large social or party spaces on campus.
This late night, probably drunk, email was described as both “entertaining” and “brutal.” That is, until Party B sent out a long seven paragraph response to Party A’s initial email. This email, which we will not display here, was distributed on many social lists on campus and even BroBible, the holiest of all the bibles. It had been so widely circulated that it prompted a response from house deans on March 3rd, who described the message as reflecting “very poorly on our community”.
So what exactly was in Party B’s email? The beginnings of the email were decent. The student explains why they haven’t had parties recently and the administrative limitations they’ve had to face. Fair. But then, the email gets more personal and honestly, a little creepy. It goes through much of Party A’s personal life like what colleges they were accepted to, where they’ve worked in the past, and even their parents’ occupations. It then goes on to label Party A as “entitled”, “privileged”, and “arrogant” in provocative and harsh language.
Students at Harvard were quick to recognize the email as a personal attack and many students voiced their opinions over the long thread. Some described the message as “f***** up”, while others took a moment to recognize Party A’s positive character.
Yes, this email was a personal attack on one student. But, I think the reason why it blew up is because it felt like it an attack on Harvard. Harvard’s community is predominantly upper middle class. Regardless of whether you belong to the upper middle class community or not, students at Harvard are often painted by outsiders as rich, pretentious snobs. That’s what the whole “H-bomb” is about. But within the Harvard bubble, it’s supposed to be a safe space; a space where your character is not labeled before your actions are observed. This email violated that space.
On March 1st, 3:19 PM, Party B, issued a formal apology. Even Regina George knew better than to publicly a shame person, that’s what the burn book is for. Below are the things I from this unnecessary drama.
- Don’t drink and email. (DDE)
- Don’t publically insult people. Feel free to do this in a private sphere.
- Long emails take time to write…midterms anyone?
- Maybe we should have more party spaces on campus. What do you think President Faust?
- Harvard doesn’t even party hard enough for this to be a serious issue.
- If Regina wouldn’t do it, neither should you.
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