Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Faces Backlash For Theresa Lund Viral Video

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative is facing backlash after their Executive Director Theresa Lund went viral for harassing a mother and her daughter on Saturday afternoon

  • Alyson Laliberte uploaded the video to her Facebook Saturday evening

  • Lund was upset that Laliberte and her 3-year-old daughter were outside playing with chalk Saturday afternoon

  • Since the video went viral Lund has deleted her social media accounts

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative is facing backlash after their Executive Director Theresa Lund went viral for harassing a mother and her 3-year-old daughter while drawing with chalk outside their apartment on Saturday afternoon.

The viral video was posted to Alyson Laliberte’s Facebook page on Saturday evening. Laliberte uploaded a video—which has already had over 600,000 views—and a picture of Lund. The caption with the video reads as follows.

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. I’m outside enjoying the afternoon with my daughter when this woman came downstairs and asked me if I would move so her kids can nap. Mind you it’s mid day and we weren’t even being loud at all 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. When I wouldn’t tell her she proceeded to ask me if I lived in the “affordable apartments” of the building for Cambridge residents or if I lived in one of the Harvard owned apartments (which is all the same building anyways). 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! She wanted to know what apartment number I lived at so she can yell outside my window to see if I like it (real mature) as you hear her say in the video. This woman’s house is no bigger than mine even if she lives in one of the apartments that are owned by Harvard. 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? If she really did not want to be disturbed she would own a one family house instead of deciding on moving in to a condominium with a bunch of neighbors. I’ve lived in this complex for 15 years. Not one other person complained about my daughter and I. I have no idea who this woman is but if someone knows her please tag her and share this if you agree!!!!

It did not take long for social media users to identify the woman as Lund. Since identifying Lund, some believe the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative has attempted to scrub Lund’s online presence instead of addressing the issue.

A Google search for Lund’s name will bring up a link to her Harvard profile as one of the top finds. However, if you click on the link it now leads to a blank page that reads, “You are not authorized to access this page.”

Luckily for those interested in seeing Lund’s profile, the Wayback Machine has it archived.

Theresa Lund
Executive Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Theresa Lund is the Executive Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), and has over 15 years of experience in academic leadership and research positions working to advance our understanding of complex global issues. Theresa joined HHI after a year in Turkey, where she served as a consultant to the provost of Bilkent University and worked with a local humanitarian group providing assistance to Syrian refugees in Ankara.

Previously, Theresa was the Managing Director in the Office of the Dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where her role included strategic planning, the capital campaign, and the development of new research and international programs across the design disciplines. She also served as the Senior Associate Director for Research with the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. For nearly a decade, she worked to advance and disseminate evidence-based, experimental research that examines gender gaps in the areas of economic opportunity, political participation, health, and education. The findings from this work have been applied by leading decision-makers across sectors and around the world.

Before joining Harvard, Theresa worked in the private sector as a business strategy consultant, with the US Department of State in Germany, and with the UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Austria. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Germany and a US Department of State Critical Language Fellowship to Turkey. Theresa holds a B.A. in International Relations and German from Wellesley College and an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from Harvard University. She has also completed executive education programs in negotiation and crisis leadership at Harvard University, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Fulbright Association of Massachusetts.

Lund’s Linked In appears to have been deleted as well, along with her Facebook. Before deleting her Facebook Lund addressed the video in a post that was captured in a screenshot now being shared by social media users.

I am terribly sorry about the exchange I had with my neighbor yesterday. What I said was inappropriate and wrong. I should not have addressed her daughter, and there was no reason for me to ask what type of unit she lives in. I’ve offered my sincere apology to her, her mother, and her daughter in person this morning. I am accountable for my actions and ask for their forgiveness for a moment in which I fell far short of my values and what I expect of myself. I love our community and am committed to engaging in dialogue and action about how to make it more welcoming and pleasant for all of us to live in together.

At this time it is unknown how the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative will react to Lund’s viral attention.

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About Meko Haze

Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.