Message to students from Occupy Harvard media/outreach

Dear fellow Harvard students,

Many of you are trying to figure out what Occupy Harvard is all about and who we are. We want to let you know that, whatever you have heard, we are a group of fellow students and faculty who believe in peaceful protest.

Harvard does many wonderful things. These things, including Harvard’s generous undergraduate financial aid packages, are to be commended. But Harvard is also responsible for a lot of suffering. Because we are part of this institution and want it to be the best it can be, we are asking Harvard, out of love, to do better.

Harvard workers are our fellow community members. When the administration gives them inadequate benefits, doesn’t respect seniority, arbitrarily fires, or underemploys these workers, our community becomes a colder place. Harvard custodians are currently struggling to negotiate a fair contract. The administration has claimed that its workers are treated fairly, but we all know our custodial workers are reasonable people – they wouldn’t be complaining if they were treated properly. The well-being of students is very important to the administration. Why not the well-being of workers?

As students, many of whom pay tuition, we have a right to know where our money is being invested. Since Harvard represents us and is a non-profit organization dedicated to the public good, we are sad to learn about investments in hotel chains that mistreat workers, extraction companies that devastate the American landscape with mountaintop-removal, and hedge funds that displace farmers in developing countries. Surely Harvard can invest in socially responsible companies and still maintain a healthy endowment.

Harvard graduates go on to do great things in their fields. But we cannot ignore the fact that a disproportionate number of the people working on Wall Street who devastated our economy and caused the current recession were educated here too. Harvard needs to reexamine the values it is instilling in its students when so many of us go on to generate profits at the expense of working people. Harvard cannot expect to speak with moral authority when its labor practices, investments, and many of its graduates do so much harm.

Occupy Harvard deeply regrets that the administration has made your lives less convenient by only opening certain gates and requiring an ID. Their argument that it is for your safety is puzzling. In past occupations of Harvard Yard – most recently in 1986 and in 2001, the university did not employ these tactics and the students were safe. Furthermore, those who are afraid of open gates should remember that the gates are usually open, and under usual conditions, the Yard is a safe place.

The administration is trying to portray us as scary and threatening, but we are just fellow community members – many of us students you might see in your dining hall, in classes, or at a Friday night rager. We appreciate your support. If you don’t want to protest with us, we understand. But there’s no reason to be afraid of us or hostile toward us. We want our tent city to be a new student center for discussion and action on the issues you care about. There are many ways to get involved without camping out – for more information, please check out our website: (we have a great FAQ section!). See you in the Yard!

Occupy Harvard

This entry was posted in General.

15 comments on “Message to students from Occupy Harvard media/outreach


    Harvard Yard is not a campground. Harvard doesn’t even allow camping in the Harvard Forest, let alone the Yard. Why didn’t your group find an appropriate place for camping rather than inconveniencing everyone who uses the yard?

    • L says:

      STON, what inconvenience is the camping causing? You can’t cut across the grass in front of the JH statue? Judging from the number, not the quality, of your replies here, it looks like this website is much more of an inconvenience to you than the camping ever could be.


        When a place dear to you has been occupied, you have to do something about it. Stop the occupation now!

        • L says:

          You don’t think that’s why we’re occupying Harvard? As it happens, all of us occupiers are part of Harvard, particularly given the current policy on access to the Yard.

          Human places are always occupied, the question is just for what purposes and to what effects. And whether they can ever change.

          May I point out that you, prolifically-posting STON, are quite a proficient occupier yourself. Who knew this website was so dear to you! As for your purposes and effects here—

  2. notjustwallstreettoblame says:

    “Harvard graduates go on to do great things in their fields. But we cannot ignore the fact that a disproportionate number of the people working on Wall Street who devastated our economy and caused the current recession were educated here too.”

    What about all the people who spent money they didn’t have? They too are to blame.

    • Jeff Bridges says:

      What about the responsibility of banks to not give loans to people who can’t afford them? It’s well-documented that many of those who took variable rate loans didn’t fully understand the consequences of doing so. But more importantly, when banks make bad loans they should go out of business—not get bailed out. I understand the economic reasons for doing so four years ago, but now that we know this can happen, shouldn’t we make sure that no bank is ever again “too big to fail”?

      • Jeroboam says:

        “…responsibility of banks to not give loans to people who can’t afford them”?
        “… many of those who took variable rate loans didn’t fully understand the consequences…”?

        The government FORCED lending institutions to make wildly imprudent revisions to their criteria for creditworthiness through the “Community Reinvestment Act.” This was simply a scheme hatched by Democrats to stuff money into the pockets of their greedy but uncreditworthy constituents.

  3. Yabancı says:

    So nice that Harvard students are excited about this! Stand up for the poor! Pitch a tent. Give yourselves a hand. A beautiful cause for self congratulation and self satisfaction before you graduate, if nothing else.


    This website is now illegally using the Harvard Seal in the favicon and the Harvard name in the domain name. Should a complaint be sent to the Harvard Trademark office?

  5. Harvard Staff says:

    When even Colin Powell supports a progressive social movement, you know it’s hit a nerve with the deepest core of the American public:

  6. a student says:

    You picked a site that wasn’t public, where your ability to protest is only under the auspices of those your are protesting against. Move back up Mass Avenue where you were the first night. The only reasons for occupying the Yard, instead of some publicly viewable and accessible space, are completely specious. Choose functionality over symbolism.

    • L says:

      The Yard has always been publicly accessible and viewable, including when the protest started.

      Your ability to protest here, what is that contingent on?

      Could you be more clear about how a different location might be more “functional”? And symbolism has functions too, so . . . the symbolism that you see in the fact that the protest is located in the Yard—would the loss of that symbolism be made up for the increased functionality you envision?


    Demand No. 1: Leave Harvard Yard immediately.
    Demand No. 2: Don’t be a hypocrite. Quit Harvard and attend Bunker Hill Community College to join the 99%.
    Demand No. 3: Get a job and pay back any financial aid Harvard may have already given you.

  8. Random Observer says:

    There is a flaw in moral reasoning whenever someone attacks another character instead of their arguments. I am displeased to see very little discussion of IF Harvard’s actions in treatment of workers, investments and educational contributions to the business elite are wrong.

    @ those complaining: Make a substantive argument please!!

    @ those protesting: Don’t spend as much time addressing how the campus handles your occupation, stick to the main issues you’re concerned about, or else others will just indulge in the protest culture/anticulture quacking!

    And just to make sure I don’t commit my own crime and not contribute something here:

    @STON: “Don’t be a hypocrite” No, no. If someone tries to change something they are a part of, that is not hypocritical. It’s when someone refuses to do anything and goes along with something despite their perspective that they are hypocrites. Imagine everyone who pays taxes, if there was ANY item they didn’t agree with that tax revenue went to, would you call them a hypocrite? I might, but only if they didn’t vote or show up to represent their views. You seem eager in your reasoning, I hope you don’t represent the opposition or the discussion is basically over.

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