Harvard Yard was not locked down in response to Occupations of Harvard Yard in protest of apartheid and the Vietnam war or during the 2001 Living Wage Campaign. We share the frustration of fellow students over the administration’s decision Wednesday night to post police at the gates and restrict entry and exit for everyone, including Harvard ID students. We also object to the continued constraints, and encourage the administration to restore full and free access to the Yard. Our movement is made up of Harvard students, staff, and faculty, and we pose no threat to the University or the “safety, security, and well-being” of fellow Harvard affiliates. The ongoing ID checks and partial gate closures are as unnecessary as they are inconvenient. Furthermore, the decision to only grant entry to Harvard ID holders has reinforced the institutional exclusivity and elitism that Occupy Harvard seeks to change.
Additionally, we apologize for any disruption that we caused at Diversitas Wednesday night. Those who heckled or otherwise disrupted the event do not represent our movement. We intended to enter the Yard earlier in the evening to avoid any interruption, but were unable to do so because the Harvard University Police Department prevented us from entering. We support the celebration of diversity and culture.
Many people have asked us why we’re here. We occupy Harvard Yard in solidarity with the Occupy movement to protest the corporatization of higher education epitomized by Harvard University. We see injustice in the 180:1 ratio between the compensation of Harvard’s highest-paid employee—the head of internal investments at Harvard Management Company—and the lowest-paid employee, an entry-level custodial worker. We also see injustice in Harvard’s lack of financial transparency and its prevention of student and community voice in these investments, and other university practices. Our entire statement of principles can be found online.