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Harvard Joins the Occupy Movement | The Nation

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Harvard Joins the Occupy Movement

This release was issued this morning by Occupy Harvard.

At 10:30 pm on November 9, hundreds of Harvard students and affiliates put down tents to begin an occupation of Harvard Yard. Currently, thirty tents occupy the Yard in solidarity with the global Occupy movement. Earlier Wednesday, around 800 Harvard students, faculty, staff, and community members gathered in a rally, general assembly, and march to Occupy Harvard. Harvard is a diverse community that includes both the 1% and the 99%; we occupy here in solidarity with the global Occupy movement and with Occupy Boston.

We are Occupy Harvard. We want a university for the 99%, not a corporation for the 1%.

We are here 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 see injustice in Harvard’s adoption of corporate efficiency measures such as job outsourcing. We see injustice in African land grabs that displace local farmers and devastate the environment. We see injustice in Harvard’s investment in private equity firms such as HEI Hotels and Resorts, which profits off the backbreaking labor of a non-union immigrant workforce. We see injustice in Harvard’s lack of financial transparency and its prevention of student and community voice in these investments.

We stand in solidarity with Occupy Boston and the other occupations throughout the country. We stand in solidarity with students at other universities who suffer crushing debt burdens and insufficient resources. We stand in solidarity with the students who occupied Massachusetts Hall one decade ago, and we continue their pursuit of justice for workers. We stand in solidarity with all those in Boston and beyond who clamor for equity. We are the 99%.

A university for the 99% must settle a just contract with Harvard’s custodial workers. A university for the 99% must adopt a new transparency policy, including disclosure of Harvard’s current investments as well as a commitment to not reinvest in HEI Hotels & Resorts or in land-grabbing hedge funds like Emergent Asset Management. Further,

  • A university for the 99% would offer academic opportunities to assess responses to socioeconomic inequality outside the scope of mainstream economics.

  • A university for the 99% would implement debt relief for students who suffer from excessive loan burdens.

  • A university for the 99% would commit to increasing the diversity of Harvard’s graduate school faculty and students.

  • A university for the 99% would end the privilege enjoyed by legacies in the Harvard admissions process.

  • A university for the 99% would implement a policy requiring faculty to declare conflicts of interest.

Our statement of principles is subject to change by the Occupy Harvard General Assemblies.

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