Shortly following the historic Palestinian resistance offensive into Israel and the beginning of the bombing campaign of Gaza by Israeli forces, dozens of student organizations at one of the most elite universities in the world took a bold stance—unequivocally citing the state of Israel as responsible for all violence in the region. “We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” read the first sentence of a student solidarity statement at Harvard University, spearheaded by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee. “The apartheid regime is the only one to blame,” reads the letter.
Boston, Massachusetts - In February, after five years of organizing under the radar, members of the nascent Harvard Academic Workers officially went public with their intent to unionize. The road to going public wasn’t always straightaway. In January, as the group of non-tenure-track teaching and research employees moved closer to announcing their drive, union member Kara Fulton and her fellow organizers were having as many feelings of discouragement as they were elation. “It felt like we were kind of working on our own,” she said. But then, later in January, other workers from across the Harvard campus and other Boston-area unions put fuel to their fire at a quickly organized roundtable event.
Prominent jazz musician Esperanza E. Spalding, a professor of the practice in Harvard’s Music Department, will depart the University, she announced in an email to department affiliates this week that was obtained by The Crimson. Spalding wrote in the email that she has communicated with Harvard over “many months” about a proposal for a “decolonial education” curriculum she would like to implement as a course or initiative, but said what she aspires “to cultivate and activate in organized learning spaces is not (yet) aligned with Harvard’s priorities.” A five-time Grammy award winner, Spalding joined the Music Department as a part-time professor of the practice in 2017 and has taught courses on songwriting, performance, and musical activism.
Speaker Ronald Mariano must call for an immediate floor vote towards the passage of An Act to Protect Native American Heritage. The November 10 Harvard statement is indicative of a broader issue of how our sacred objects and our human remains continue to be held captive for racist, eugenicist, and colonialist means,” said Jean-Luc Pierite, member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, and president of North American Indian Center of Boston, “We must act to refine the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) enforcement on the state level to include all publicly funded entities. Consultation and repatriation or rematriation are essential to putting our ancestors to rest. We mourn especially for children separated from their families and lost to boarding schools.
Cambridge, Massachusetts - On Wednesday, around 30 members of the Harvard and MIT communities disrupted a recruiting event by ExxonMobil. The presentation, which was held in the offices of the MIT Earth and Planetary Sciences department and advertised to Harvard science students, was intended to convince students to participate in the company’s hiring process. Students at the event, however, sent a message loud and clear: So long as Exxon is undermining young people’s futures, it won’t be welcome on campus. The disruption — and a similar one, also this week at Brown — come in the wake of Exxon’s track record of exploiting vulnerable peoples and environments for its oil and gas development, while lying to the public about its ostensible pivot to greener initiatives.
Over a dozen anti-war activists staged a protest against Harvard Kennedy School professor Meghan L. O’Sullivan Tuesday morning, disrupting a class she was teaching to first-year master’s of public policy students. The protesters denounced O’Sullivan’s affiliation with Raytheon Technologies, a weapons manufacturing firm, and her role in the Bush administration during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. O’Sullivan served as deputy national security advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan in the Bush administration prior to joining the Harvard Kennedy School. She currently sits on Raytheon’s board of directors. The protestors, most of whom were not affiliated with Harvard, burst into the classroom chanting “Meghan O’Sullivan, you can’t hide, we can see your war crimes” and “When missiles fly, people die, and O’Sullivan’s profits multiply,” while holding up a banner critical of O’Sullivan in front of the class.
On Sunday, May 29, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland gave the commencement speech at the Harvard University graduation ceremony for the class of 2020-21. Harvard students teamed up with Boston Area Assange Defense and other local activists to protest Garland’s speech over the continued prosecution of Julian Assange. Mike Miccioli, class of ’22, explained why he and other Harvard students decided to use the commencement speech to draw attention to Assange’s plight: “The prosecution of Julian Assange violates the First Amendment right to a free press. If Assange’s work with Manning is criminalized, this would open the door for any investigative journalist to be prosecuted for their standard work.
Harvard University’s campus has been dormant since last spring, and as COVID-19 cases rise through the winter, it’s unclear when normal classes will resume. The administration recently announced that the majority of the university’s staff would continue to work remotely through June 2021. For the janitorial staff, however, work never ended. Roughly 700 janitorial workers have held onto their jobs through the pandemic, maintaining their full union wages, even though in some cases they are working on a reduced schedule. But for hundreds of subcontracted frontline workers, next year may bring a round of layoffs at the worst possible time.
This is not a decision that our campaign arrived at lightly. Turning to the courts is a last resort. Having tried multiple channels, from protests to petitions to rallies to teach-ins to reports to non-official and official meetings, but finding no relief, we have been forced to file this lawsuit against the President and Fellows of Harvard College, the Harvard Management Company, Lawrence Bacow in his capacity as President of Harvard University, and William Lee in his capacity as Senior Fellow.
Over 100 students from Harvard Law School staged a public protest against a recruitment dinner hosted by law firm Paul Weiss on Wednesday night, calling for the company to cut ties with fossil fuel giant Exxon. In a statement, the demonstrators said they were taking action because of the severity of the climate crisis. "This is a do-or-die moment in human history," said student Aaron Regunberg, one of the action's leaders, in a statement. "We have just a few years left to rein in corporate polluters and address the climate crisis."
Despite its impressive name, the HSPH has earned an unsavory reputation for taking rich contributions from polluters in exchange for producing scientific “research” that fortifies corporate profit-taking. Big Tobacco, the chemical industry, Detroit automakers, corporate food processors, and industrial meat and grain barons have all turned to HSPH for corporate-friendly science anointed with the imprimatur of the Harvard name. HSPH’s iconic founder, Fredrick Stare, proudly bore the sobriquet “Mr. Sugar” for his adamant defense of a sugar-only diet. Stare’s sweet tooth garnered HSPH millions of dollars in research grants from Kellogg’s, General Mills and Coca-Cola. In exchange for soda industry lucre, Stare obligingly provided the scientific conclusion that a cold Coke was “a healthy between-meals snack.”
Shouting “people over profits” and throwing pill bottles on the floor, more than 30 demonstrators held a “die-in” in Harvard's Arthur M. Sackler Museum Friday to protest its connections to a family they said spurred on the opioid crisis and profited from addiction nationwide. Led by photographer Nan Goldin—whose works are displayed in the museum—protesters demanded Harvard refuse future funding from the Sacklers. They also urged the Sackler family to invest in the overdose reversal drug naloxone, safe injection facilities, and medication that can combat addiction. They charged that the family, which helps lead the multi-billion dollar drug company Purdue Pharmaceuticals, knew the pain relief drug OxyContin was highly addictive but downplayed its dangers when marketing it to doctors.
By Spencer Buell for Boston Daily - Protesters, some standing with their fists in the air and waving signs that included the words “white supremacist,” swarmed to greet Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Thursday night at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. DeVos, despised by advocates for public schools and victims of on-campus sexual assault, was there to give a talk about her pro-“school choice” views on education. As she has done since her appointment to the position by the Trump administration, DeVos in her speech argued for the promotion of alternatives to public schools, advocating for policies that would give parents the option to send their kids to privately-run charter schools, diverting funding from public schools pay for it. “I came into office with a core belief: it is the inalienable right and responsibility of parents to choose the learning environment that best meets their child’s unique, individual needs,” she said, according to prepared remarks provided by the Department of the Education. “Now, I’ve been called the ‘school choice Secretary’ by some,” she continued, “I think it’s meant as an insult, but I wear it as a badge of honor!” During the speech, video taken at the event shows a pair of students standing up silently in their chairs and unfurling a pair of signs. One read “white supremacist” in all-caps. The other read “Our students are not 4 sale.” Dozens more students stood silently in the hall, also brandishing signs.
By Francine Prose for The Guardian. Boston, MA - I graduated from Harvard in 1968. (Officially, my diploma was from Radcliffe, the now disbanded women’s college, but all of our classes were at Harvard.) That year, Harvard’s graduation speaker was the shah of Iran, and many of us wore black armbands and boycotted the ceremony to protest against the oppressive Iranian government’s human rights violations. In 1993, I returned for our 25th reunion. The graduation speaker was Colin Powell, the defense secretary, who had supported the Clinton administration’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on openly gay members of the military.
By Kevin Gosztola for The Guardian - The Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School revoked an invitation for United States military whistleblower Chelsea Manning to serve as a visiting fellow after intense pressure from the CIA. According to the Harvard Crimson, the school newspaper, "high-ranking current and former CIA officials" convinced the Dean of the Kennedy School of Government to reverse course. Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director, canceled his appearance at the school on September 14. He wrote a letter to the director of the Intelligence and Defense Projects at Harvard Kennedy that declared, "Ms. Manning betrayed her country and was found guilty of 17 serious crimes for leaking classified information to Wikileaks. Indeed, Ms. Manning stands against everything the brave men and women I serve alongside stand for." Former CIA director Mike Morell resigned from his position as a senior fellow at the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School. His statement bore a distinct similarity to Pompeo’s statement. "Please know that I am fully aware that Belfer and the IOP are separate institutions within the Kennedy School and that, most likely, Belfer had nothing to do with the invitation of Ms. Manning to be a fellow at IOP," Morell stated. "But, as an institution, the Kennedy School's decision will assist Ms. Manning in her long-standing effort to legitimize the criminal path that she took to prominence, an attempt that may encourage others to leak classified information as well."