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News ::
Harvard Sit-In
19 Apr 2001
Report on the Harvard Sit-in that is happening presently
On Wednesday, April 18, at approximately 3:00 pm 46 Harvard students from The Living Wage campaign stormed into Massachusetts Hall in Harvard Yard. They chanted and clapped to, "Hey Harvard, you've got cash, why do you pay your workers trash?" What they are shouting about, and what students and workers are walking the picket line outside the building for, is the two year struggle with administrators over living wages for Harvard groundskeepers, janitors, security guards, etc. Workers at Harvard receive anywhere from minimum wage to $8.50 without benefits. The group is fighting for a living wage of $10.50 with benefits such as healthcare and the like. After using many social forums, petitioning of administrators, they have decided to take more immediate action; Hence, the sit-in.

Surrounded by Harvard police inside and outside Mass Hall, the picket went on, until around 4:30 PM when Harvard president Rudenstein was spotted walking in the distance. Picketers, photographers and microphones rushed over to question him directly. The person at the main microphone call to Rudenstein with virility, "President Rudenstein, you make $400,000 a year, why not consider a living wage for workers?" After this incident, picketers came back to the picket line unfettered and continued marching.

There were some agitators who walked directly into the protest crowd with makeshift note papers that read, "R.I.P. Karl Marx,"; probably in response to a circulating leaflet that berated Corporate Stalinism ( i.e. Corporate fascism ) as well as "the capitalist class that Harvard serves." The leaflet also exposed the fact that Harvard professors, graduates, and administrators were on record for anti-labor, racist policies. Mentioned in the publication was Richard Hernstein who was the author of "The Bell Curve," ( 1985 ), a book which sought to prove African American inferiority due to genetic makeup. Nevertheless, it seemed the agitators wanted to deride the sit-in message by merely humoring it. They left shortly thereafter.

The Mayor of Cambridge was expected to visit before a 7 PM scheduled on- campus conference held in regards to The Living Wage Campaign. The mayor never showed. After the conference, a candle night vigil was held in solidarity with the students sitting-in inside Mass Hall.

Today, April 19, effective 2:00 PM there was word that police were tightening security in hopes of evicting the students. However, the students have a five day supply of food and plan to stay the building until Administrators negotiate with their demands. From the general outlook, a lack of response by administrators has forced students and workers to continue the sit in until Anti-FTAA rallies begin outside their campus on April 21st. They are calling for anyone in the Boston area to make their way to Harvard yard to support the sit-in as well as the Anti-FTAA demonstration that will proceed it.
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