An Arizona man has pleaded guilty to charges connected to threats he made on social media to bomb Harvard University and shoot attendees of a Black commencement ceremony held in May 2017, the Boston Globe reported.
On Thursday, suspect Nicholas Zuckerman pleaded guilty to two counts of transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another. Authorities said Zuckerman, 24, commented on a May 13 post published to Harvard’s Instagram account threatening violence should the university go through with the program, according to a statement from the US attorney for the District of Massachusetts.
“If the blacks-only ceremony happens, then I encourage violence and death at it,” Zuckerman wrote. “I’m thinking two automatics with extendo clips. Just so no n—-r gets away.”
Prosecutors said Zuckerman also commented on another post, writing “#bombharvard and end their pro-black agenda.” He posted that same hashtag to 11 other posts in a span of just four minutes, they said.
A member of the public alerted Harvard police to the comments, after which the case was handed over to federal authorities. Zuckerman was arrested and charged in June 2018.
After a push by Black graduate students, the Ivy League institution held its first-ever Black commencement in 2017 in an effort to “bring black students across schools together and acknowledge challenges that students of color may face at Harvard,” according to the campus paper.
Michael Huggins, president of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance, started organizing the event after noticing the lack of programming aimed at Black graduate students across several disciplines.
“I think there’s so many good opportunities to build networks, to build fellowship, to build community,” Huggins told The Harvard Crimson at the time. “This is an opportunity to hear stories that are often not told.”
Zuckerman is set to be sentenced on May 23.