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News :: Education
Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
A top College administrator who had said she would not allow students to protest the presence of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recruiters on campus yesterday reversed her position just hours before the rally was set to begin...

More than 100 students packed Auditorium E in the basement of the Science Center yesterday afternoon to hear the panel—including several activists who disrupted the event with skits designed to ridicule the CIA and DHS.
A top College administrator who had said she would not allow students to protest the presence of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recruiters on campus yesterday reversed her position just hours before the rally was set to begin.

Associate Dean of the College Judith H. Kidd sent an e-mail message to leaders of the Harvard Social Forum (HSF) yesterday morning informing them that they would be allowed to stage a “peaceful demonstration” outside the Science Center, where CIA and DHS representatives participated in a panel sponsored by the Office of Career Services (OCS) for students considering jobs in counterterrorism.

More than 100 students packed Auditorium E in the basement of the Science Center yesterday afternoon to hear the panel—including several activists who disrupted the event with skits designed to ridicule the CIA and DHS.

One recent alum, Matthew R. Skomarovsky ‘03, induced himself to vomit in order to express his disgust with CIA and DHS policies.

Physics doctoral candidate Suvrat Raju, a member of the Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice, rose to question the CIA recruiter about the agency’s involvement in a 1973 coup in Chile. After Raju revealed that he is not a U.S. citizen, a fellow activist dressed as an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agent seized Raju in a “mock deportation” and dragged him out of the auditorium.

Several audience members said they were unimpressed by the protesters’ disruptive tactics.

“I hate torture as much as the next protester,” Nathan A. Sharp ’08 said.

“But the best way to address the humanitarian disregard or the incompetence of the CIA is not by harassing their recruiters.,” Sharp said. “I don’t know why they’d want to prevent the CIA from reaching out to people who might improve upon their errors.”

KIDD REVERSES HER STANCE

Kidd had told HSF leaders in an e-mail Monday morning that they would not be allowed to demonstrate because they did not have the required permit.

Administrators recommend that students submit an online form requesting permits three to five days in advance of a protest. But HSF members never submitted a permit request to the College.

Kidd wrote in an e-mail to HSF leaders yesterday morning that she would allow the demonstration to proceed “because of the late notice of the OCS event.” She also told the HSF leaders that they would have received permission if they “had made any attempt to contact our office in advance.”

Kidd asked the HSF leaders to “refrain from heckling, either outside the Science Center or during the presentation.”

As students filed into the OCS event, HSF leaders staged a brief rally outside the Science Center that drew about 30 protesters. The activists distributed fliers assailing the CIA’s role in the torture of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and blasting the INS—now a branch of the DHS—for detaining Muslim and South Asian immigrants in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

But according to HSF coordinating committee member Michael A. Gould-Wartofsky ’07, when activists gathered outside the Science Center yesterday shortly before 3 p.m., they had not yet read Kidd’s e-mail—which was sent less than four hours earlier. The protesters had planned to go ahead with their demonstration even if they had not received administrators’ permission, said Gould-Wartofsky, who is also a Crimso,n editor.

Kidd left her University Hall office and spoke in person to HSF leaders to inform them that she would indeed allow the demonstration to continue.

“We regard this as a victory for free speech at Harvard,” Gould-Wartofsky said.

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Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
oh and they posted riot cops and police cars at the protest site for an hour before it was planned to take place, and officers trailed organizers across harvard yard. when they realized the intimidation wouldn't work, the cops left and the dean came out to reverse the protest ban. that's how it happened.
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
Harvard can't give you free speech, anymore then they can take it away. As long as Kidd's "legitmizing" your protest by giving you permission, your really still under her control.
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
You only have free speech rights in a public forum. To the extent that Harvard is a public forum, then you have rights For example parts of Harvard square that Harvard owns that are open to the public at all times fall under the definition of "Public Forum." Harvard Yard, on the other hand, may be off limits to the public whenever Harvard chooses. Therefore it is not a public forum. You have no free speech rights there. Only government actors are prohibited from denying you free speech. Private actors, in this case officials of a private university, can deny you the privilege of free speech. There is no right to free speech on the campus of a private university.
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
We know Harvard can't give or take away our free speech. That's why we didn't need a permit and planned to protest regardless of what happened.

This was just a victory in terms of forcing the administration to back down from its threats to physically block the demonstration.
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
nice job!
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
Now do you seriously think that you disrupted this event? The CIA has been coming to campus for years and years. Long haired hippies were protesting them in the 60s. They continued to come. Punks were protesting them in the 70s. They kept coming. Yuppies were protesting them in the 80s. They still didn't stop. Democrats were protesting them in the 90s. They continued to come. So as I see it, you students are just another in a long line of failures.
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
who said they want them to stop coming? its about impressing upon attendees the things these government branches are responsible for. if you are a recruiter, you dont want someone telling all your recruits how you fuck up.
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
um, the people who disrupted the event were not the same/or tied to the group of students who called for and held a rally outside of the science center. the group of students who 'cried bloody murder' when they were denied the space to protest werent attempting to disrupt the event, but simply wanted to disseminate information about the CIA to their peers in a peaceful manner.
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
Their peers already posess this information. Who are you kidding?
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
13 Apr 2005
considering i just asked 4 of my roommates (aka Harvard peers) what they knew about the CIA in Iraq, and they all responded "nothing" I'd say there's not much to be kidding about.
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
14 Apr 2005
When did Harvard lower its admission standards?
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
14 Apr 2005
I think it's just that really rich people get stupider over the generations. The gene pool's too narrow.
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
14 Apr 2005
some of us at harvard are actually working class students. waging class war inside the beast...
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
14 Apr 2005
Well I guess *some* of you must be. But then you're in a pretty good position to confirm my hypothesis, right?
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
14 Apr 2005
I can confirm the fact that Harvard has more than its share of dim bulbs, correlating unsurprisingly with both wealth and athletic prowess. most harvard students are there for one reason alone--personal aggrandizement in the form of status (as they perceive it) and money, but mostly it's about the money. the ones who don't have the stomach to go into investment banking or consulting to commit their crimes and get their loot go looking for well-paying jobs at non-profits, run for office in their backwater hometowns, or just stay in school to leech off of society. altogether, this crowd is extremely self-absorbed, and not interested in learning for personal growth, just learning how to make a buck by becoming corporate or political whores (same difference). there are of course exceptions to the rule like the ones who know enough to protest the CIA, whether peacefully or disruptively, and they deserve not just our praise but our sympathy for having to endure the company of their truly detestable "peers". lastly, note how the crimson article above refers to "a 1973 coup in Chile" as if it were some obscure event. i guess we can chalk it up to their "errors and incompetence", which is one Harvard genius's sharp characterization of 5 decades of criminal misconduct.
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
15 Apr 2005
I never thought that I would see the word "Harvard" and the term "Athletic Powess" in the same sentence!
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
15 Apr 2005
I think they have a good crew team? and a pretty good squash team?
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
15 Apr 2005
I rest my case ;)
Re: Final Update from Harvard: Administration Backs Down, CIA Event Disrupted
15 Apr 2005
Hmm. Anyone who is at Harvard University and has heart and mind and soul enougth to pay attention & protest the CIA in these black-balling neo-nazi Weimar Amerikka times, is a brother or a sister deserving of our support. As for the few Upper Class yet progressive children of the super or not- so- super Rich of the world - who might have less to lose, or might have more - I think we could WELCOME their help, educate them, speak with, learn from, and teach them what we know from OUR life experiences... we are all fellow human beings on this planet. Who knows, perhaps these privledged ones can help us all get closer to what we want.