Occupy Harvard protest locked out, moves to street

A Cambridge Police Officer is seen filming Wednesday during an Occupy Harvard protest. (Photo: Kade Ellis)

The hundreds-strong Occupy Harvard protest is getting crazy, according to reports on the #occupyharvard twitterfeed and from James Williamson, who just ended a run for City Council and said he was on the scene Wednesday night.

Harvard police are said to be roughing up students, blocking media from the scene, checking ID to ensure only members of the Harvard community have access and even locking gates in an attempt to control the protest, which shortly after 9:30 p.m. began debating whether to move on to march up Massachusetts Avenue.

The protest was intended to focus attention on Harvard’s role in the economic crisis and show solidarity with the national Occupy movement, according to a Wednesday story on the student-run crimson.com news site.

“Economic lectures have a way of becoming economic policies in Washington,” said Benjamin L. Beachy, a student at the Kennedy School and a rally organizer, in the story.

A launch point for the protest seemed to be a 70-student walkout Nov. 3 from an economics course taught by Greg Mankiw, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the second Bush administration and an adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The letter, posted on the Harvard Political Review site, is signed by “Concerned students of Economics 10” who say:

We are deeply concerned about the way that this bias affects students, the University, and our greater society. As Harvard undergraduates, we enrolled in Economics 10 hoping to gain a broad and introductory foundation of economic theory that would assist us in our various intellectual pursuits and diverse disciplines … Instead, we found a course that espouses a specific — and limited — view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today.

Taking to Harvard Yard on Wednesday, protesters found not just unhappy Harvard police but Cambridge police as well, some filming, and, apparently, even City Manager Robert W. Healy.

There was a “large contingent of CPD outside Harvard Yard as large Occupy Harvard group emerged,” Williamson said. “Supervised by none other than Roberto Healy, himself.”

Just before 10 p.m., a Twitter user named Kade Ellis said there were hundreds of protesters in the streets, as Harvard Yard remained locked up. While many protesters said they wanted “a university of the 99 percent” and chanted slogans such as “’Harvard, Harvard you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side,” others weren’t quite so sure.

“Many curious 1 percenters inside the gate with me. Some disparaging, some cautious, one guy the picture of entitlement,” Ellis tweeted. “Overheard by Harvard gawkers: ‘I’m not really sure we want a university of the 99 percent.’ Murmurs of agreement.”

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