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Former HUFPI President Criticizes ‘Lies’ in Crimson Article Investigating Alleged Financial Mismanagement

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Sama E.N. Kubba ’24, former president of the Harvard Undergraduate Foreign Policy Initiative, released a statement on her personal website Wednesday addressing what she said were inaccuracies in a recent article published by The Harvard Crimson, which detailed the disputes and allegations of financial mismanagement surrounding her tenure as HUFPI president.

On March 3, The Crimson reported that Kubba transferred almost $30,000 from HUFPI’s bank account into her own, held complete control over the organization’s finances, and practiced improper spending habits with club funds — among other issues.

In her response published on a personal website, titled “Resolved: No Money is Missing, The Truth Is,” Kubba claimed The Crimson inaccurately portrayed her time as HUFPI president. She also outlined the contributions she made to HUFPI during her tenure and recounted her experience since The Crimson released its original investigation.

At the start of Kubba’s response, she questioned The Crimson’s objectivity and the integrity of its reporting and described the March 3 article as “inaccurate” and “filled with lies.”

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“The Crimson offered themselves as a platform for HUFPI’s smear campaign and chose to ignore evidence I provided in favor of dramatic gossip,” she wrote.

In a Wednesday statement, The Crimson’s president Cara J. Chang ’24 wrote she believes the reporters of the original article were “in line with standard journalistic practice.”

“The reporters repeatedly sought comment from all parties mentioned in the story, including Kubba, who had ample time to review and respond to the details we planned to include in the story,” Chang wrote.

Kubba, who did not respond to a request for comment on Chang’s statement, alleged Wednesday in the statement on her personal website that The Crimson received but did not heed advice from University administrators before the story’s publication.

“The Harvard administration met with the Crimson before this article to warn them that the manner in which they are reporting this story is potentially unethical, and The Crimson still chose to go full steam ahead,” Kubba wrote.

As a financially and editorially independent newspaper, The Crimson did not meet with Harvard administration to discuss the decision to publish the original article.

Kubba wrote she was “deeply sad” to see a decline in HUFPI event attendance and member retention following The Crimson article’s publication despite the “hard work” she had put into the organization.

“The board had multiple resignations after the Crimson article, it seems the organization can no longer stand on its own financially, events are poorly attended, and new leadership does not even bother to show up for their own organization’s events,” she wrote. “HUFPI is falling apart and its leadership is more concerned with their agenda against me than doing what is best for the organization.”

“I acted in my best interest to protect HUFPI — I always have,” Kubba added.

In response to Kubba’s claims, Chang wrote that The Crimson remains committed to the original article.

“The Crimson’s investigation into the leadership dispute at HUFPI and financial mismanagement revolving around Kubba’s presidency was thorough, painstaking, and deeply reported, built on interviews with 10 current and former club members and more than 100 internal club emails and documents,” Chang wrote.

“The Crimson stands by its reporting,” she added.

—Staff writer Nia L. Orakwue can be reached at nia.orakwue@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @nia_orakwue.

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