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ChanequaCampbellChanequa Campbell (c. 1988- ) was a student at Harvard who did not get her degree in 2009 because the university says she committed some wrongdoing but will not say what it is, nor have they charged her with a crime.

On May 18th 2009 Justin Cosby, one of Harvard’s top suppliers of marijuana, was robbed and shot dead in the basement of Kirkland House at Harvard. The accused killer is Jordan Copney. Neither one is a student at Harvard, so someone let them into the building. Kirkland is where Campbell lived.

Harvard says Campbell knew both men. They also say that someone gave Copney a student card to get into the building, but does not say who.

Campbell says it was not her card, that she did not take part in the shooting and knows nothing about it. She says she does not know Cosby and has never dealt drugs. She does, however, know Copney, the accused killer: a close friend of hers, Brittany Smith, a straight arrow, was his girlfriend. She too has been denied her degree but so far has not made her story public.

Copney is a songwriter from Harlem, the son of a retired police officer. He turned himself in and says he is not guilty.

Five days after the murder Campbell got a letter from Harvard. It told her to move out and that she was not going to get her degree – just weeks before she was to graduate. The letter says the university police have been informed of some wrongdong committed by her but does not say what it is.

Campbell says she is being singled out because:

I’m black and I’m poor and I’m from New York and I walk a certain way and I keep my clothes a certain way. It’s something that labels me as different from everyone else.

Few blacks at Harvard support her: they seem to think that she must have done something wrong even though they cannot say what.

Although she has made some good friends at Harvard she says it has been hard because being poor and black affects how people see her and act towards her. She was becoming burnt out. She has spent much of the past two years studying in Milan, Italy instead.

Campbell grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, a poor, black part of New York. She admires August Wilson, who had the same sort of beginnings. She says “I love where I come from. I love being ‘from the hood’.”

She did well at school and got into a programme, Prep for Prep, that helped to get her into a good high school. She got lupus and for a while had to walk with a cane and could not go out in the sun. She became a National Merit Scholar, won scholarships from the New York Times (one of 21 that year), Goldman Sachs and Coca-Cola and went on to Harvard, where she studied sociology.

She is now back in Brooklyn.

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