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Thousands Of Harvard Alumni Implore Jared Kushner For A Meeting

More than 2,000 of them signed an open letter asking to share their concerns with the Trump adviser.

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More than 2,000 Harvard alumni have signed their names to an open letter addressed to White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, the husband of Ivanka Trump and a fellow Harvard alumnus. The signatories asked Kushner for a meeting, at his convenience, to share their concerns. "We do not have the President’s ear, but you do, and we hope that we have yours," the letter reads.

The author of the letter, attorney David Rochelson, told BuzzFeed News that he has already gotten more than 2,000 signatures in 24 hours with 100 more Harvard alumni joining every couple hours.

The delicately worded letter mentions Kushner's grandparents, who were refugees from Nazi Germany, and implores Kushner to use his influence on Trump in regards to the immigration order.

We appeal to you to influence the Trump Administration, and Mr. Trump himself, in a positive way. We ask that you remember your grandparents, refugees from Nazi Germany, when the Administration shuts our nation’s borders to the millions around the world who are fleeing conflict. They are counting on you. The millions of undocumented persons who contribute their blood and sweat and taxes to our great nation are counting on you. Women and the LGBTQ community are counting on you. People of color are counting on you.

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The message concludes by noting the privileges afforded to Kushner and his family by virtue of being Americans.

This great nation has afforded you and your family all the opportunities in the world, and you have succeeded beyond your ancestors’ imaginations. You have earned great material success and, now, enormous power. We ask that you use it to help ensure that this nation remains a beacon of freedom, opportunity and hope throughout the world.

Rochelson told BuzzFeed News that he was motivated to write the letter because his grandparents are refugees from Eastern Europe and his paternal grandfather survived Auschwitz. "When I heard that Jared's grandparents were survivors too, I couldn't stop thinking about him being in the room when they discussed this policy. I just felt so furious and so powerless. I felt like I had to do something," he said.

Rochelson thinks the likelihood of getting a response from Kushner is low. "It would be hubris for me to think a few thousand signatures from people who happen to have the same institution on their diplomas would get Jared's attention, or his father-in-law's. But sometimes people respond more to one group of voices than another, for whatever reason. So I thought we had to try."

Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist who helped orchestrate the immigration order, is also a Harvard alumnus, but from the business school. Kushner, who graduated in 2003, was famously admitted to Harvard only after his father made a $2.5 million donation to the university, according to Daniel L. Golden's book The Price of Admissions: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way Into Elite Colleges — and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates.

Here is the letter in full:

Open letter to Jared Kushner from Harvard Alumni

January 30, 2017

Jared Kushner
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Jared,

We, the undersigned graduates of Harvard College, are your classmates and roommates, friends and acquaintances. We do not have the President’s ear, but you do, and we hope that we have yours.

You are the Senior White House Adviser to the President of the United States. We appeal to you to influence the Trump Administration, and Mr. Trump himself, in a positive way. We ask that you remember your grandparents, refugees from Nazi Germany, when the Administration shuts our nation’s borders to the millions around the world who are fleeing conflict. They are counting on you. The millions of undocumented persons who contribute their blood and sweat and taxes to our great nation are counting on you. Women and the LGBTQ community are counting on you. People of color are counting on you.

All Americans are counting on you.

Harvard's motto is simple. It is just a single word: Veritas. Truth. We have seen disturbing signs that the Administration will suppress open thought and debate, silencing scientists and withdrawing their funding, attacking journalists and declaring them the “opposition party,” repeating falsehoods big and small. Truth. It is the guiding value of your alma mater; let it be a value in the Administration as well.

This great nation has afforded you and your family all the opportunities in the world, and you have succeeded beyond your ancestors’ imaginations. You have earned great material success and, now, enormous power. We ask that you use it to help ensure that this nation remains a beacon of freedom, opportunity and hope throughout the world.

We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you, at your convenience, to share our concerns.

Respectfully,

Nitasha Tiku is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Nitasha Tiku at nitasha.tiku@buzzfeed.com.

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