Frequently Asked Questions

Occupy Harvard 2.0: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get involved in Occupy Harvard?

We’re delighted to have you participate in any way you would like to. You can come hang out at our geodesic dome, voice your mind at General Assemblies, help staff the info desk and fill people in on the movement, or, best of all, join a working group that speaks to your interests. Right now, OH’s working groups include Outreach, Logistics, Facilitation, Media, Direct Action, and Ideas. We’re always up for creating new ones, so if you have an idea about how our movement can grow, you can start your own working group. To find out more visit http://occupyharvard.net/contact/.

What has Occupy Harvard accomplished thus far, and what do you hope to accomplish in the future?

In solidarity with the global Occupy movement, Occupy Harvard reclaimed public domain to establish a horizontal forum of participatory democracy. This is an alter-globalization model in contrast to the failed electoral system that turns a blind eye to the public for the benefit of the few. Here, money does not matter, you do.

Our occupation of Harvard Yard has revived discussion of inequality throughout the university. From daily conversations at our info tent, to a teach-in with eight faculty members that attracted hundreds of participants, we foster discourse regarding economic, historical, social and legal injustice. So far, we have the support of nearly one thousand Harvard affiliates, including more than 150 faculty members.

We also helped Harvard’s custodians secure a better contract ensuring improved health coverage and better shift arrangements; helped extend eligibility for tuition assistance and childcare to hourly workers sub-contracted to Harvard; and we have sparked a debate about how the university might provide more robust support and encouragement for students entering public service, in line with the College’s stated mission.  We recently prompted Harvard to launch an investigation of its investment in HEI Hotels and Resorts, and will continue to push for a dialogue about how to achieve transparent and socially responsible investment of the university’s multi-billion-dollar endowment.

As Occupy Harvard, we will continue to strive for social and economic justice at Harvard and in the wider world.

What is Occupy Harvard 2.0?

Occupy Harvard 2.0 seeks to broaden support amongst Harvard undergraduates, graduate students, faculty members, and other affiliates, while also building connections with occupations in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Allston-Brighton, and beyond. Occupy Harvard 2.0 looks beyond the gates of Harvard Yard to join the broader movement in actively engaging social and economic inequalities.

Why did you take down the tents? And why did you leave the geodesic dome?

As the global Occupy movement evolves into a new phase of action beyond encampments, Occupy Harvard also joins the transition. For many Occupy encampments, such transition was forced by police action; at Occupy Harvard, it was consensus in addressing our specific space and time.

The occupation of physical spaces remains an important tactic for the Occupy movement, and Occupy Harvard remains committed to maintaining a physical presence in Harvard Yard. We see our continued physical presence in the Yard as a gathering place for Occupiers, a beacon of free expression against inequality.

Are you sleeping here? And is someone at the Occupy Harvard camp all the time?

For over a month, Occupy Harvard maintained an all day and all night presence in Harvard Yard. At our December 15 General Assembly, we reached consensus to re-imagine our encampment “into an interactive community space, built within the space of our winterized geodesic dome.”  At the December 19 General Assembly, we suspended the facilitation of overnight camping until January 21, 2012. As our movement takes new and exciting shapes, we want you with us, and while we might not all be there all day, every day, as long as you’re here, Harvard will be Occupied.

Why do you hate Harvard? Aren’t you biting the hand that feeds you? And as Harvard affiliates, aren’t you part of the 1 percent?

We don’t hate Harvard. Yet we believe that it is vitally important for Harvard to be a socially and economically just employer, investor, and part of the greater community. Harvard possesses an immense amount of social and financial capital, and therefore has the very real power, and responsibility, to change the world for good.

Members of Occupy Harvard come from a diversity of backgrounds and economic situations. We have undergraduates who could never have come here without financial aid, and we have members who are employees who have fought for years for fair wages and benefits. While all of us benefit from the opportunities that the university provides us, we all share a commitment to advancing social and economic equality.