PHOENIX — An Arizona man who was arrested Friday faces federal charges of threatening to bomb Harvard University and shoot students at the school’s 2017 Black Commencement ceremony to “end their pro-black agenda.”
Nicholas Zuckerman, 24, was indicted on two counts of “transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts’ statement.
Zuckerman allegedly commented, using slurs and threats, on a Harvard Instagram post in early May 2017.
“If the blacks only ceremony happens, then I encourage violence and death at it. I’m thinking two automatics with extendo clips. Just so no (N-word) gets away,” Zuckerman wrote, according to the statement.
Social media threat: ‘#bombharvard’
Zuckerman allegedly commented on another Harvard Instagram post, saying: “#bombharvard and end their pro-black agenda.” He allegedly used the phrase “#bombharvard” on other users’ posts approximately 11 times in four minutes, according to the statement.
Harvard graduate students held the first-ever Black Commencement ceremony on May 23, 2017. The gathering united black students across the university to celebrate their achievements and recognize challenges they faced. The event, now in its second year, is open to anyone at the university and honors students who “identify with the African diaspora,” according to a notice on Harvard’s website.
The event took place two days before the university’s 366th commencement for all graduating students.
Many colleges hold smaller commencement ceremonies for subgroups separate from the main commencement ceremony.
#BlackAtHarvard: A celebration
Harvard students posted on social media, celebrating the event. “Minutes away from Harvard’s first-ever black graduation!” wrote one Twitter user, using the hashtag #BlackAtHarvard, in a post showing students seated under a canopy of green trees wearing black and crimson gowns.
“Congratulations to #BlackatHarvard you are all an inspiration to every black child out there,” wrote another Twitter user.
Zuckerman will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.
His last address indicates he lived in Tempe, according to public records.
If convicted, Zuckerman could face up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
Harvard did not immediately respond to The Arizona Republic’s requests for comment Saturday.
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