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Harvard U. Dems' Southern Trip Canceled, Backer In Italy Car Crash; Was It A Hoax?

This story was written by Lauren D. Kiel, Harvard Crimson


The Harvard College Democrats were forced to cancel their upcoming campaign trip to Georgia and North Carolina yesterday after the man responsible for booking the campaigners plane tickets was seriously injured in a car accident, leading to the loss of the groups travel funding.

An organization known as Americans in Italy for Obama had promised to provide the group with plane tickets to Raleigh, N.C., Winston-Salem, N.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Savannah, Ga. The Democrats received word on Saturday that David Gall, the member of the Italian group who was responsible for purchasing the campaigners plane tickets, had been injured in a car accident and would be unable to organize the trip.

Dems president Jarret A. Zafran 09 notified the 190 students registered for the November 1-4 trip of the cancellation by e-mail yesterday evening.

Members of the Dems executive board decided to call off the trip after participating in a conference call yesterday with representatives from groups across the country that were planning to go on trips sponsored by the Italian group.

In addition to members of the Harvard Democrats, more than 500 students were planning to participate in campaign trips sponsored by the group, including students from Tufts and Berkeley.

Because the student groups have no one in Italy to verify Galls story, they consulted with a number of private investigators and lawyers to insure that there was no threat to the security of the students registered in case the whole trip was a hoax, Zafran said.

According to Zafran, Gall only had the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the students who had registered for the trip.

Obama headquarters in each of the cities had already arranged housing for the volunteers, and the Dems had begun working on arranging local transportation.

Its consumed my life for the last two weeks, and I cant get that time back, so I understand the sad and disappointed feelings, Zafran said.

Harvard students who had signed up to travel to Georgia and North Carolina may instead go on the groups previously planned four-day trips to New Hampshire.

Though Zafran said that the New Hampshire trip would be equally as beneficial for the campaign, he said he understood that some students would be disappointed by the cancellation.

I think that at the end of the day, the results are going to be just as great, Zafran said. It just wont be quite as warm or adventurous.