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Occupy Harvard Mission and Demands « Occupy Harvard

Occupy Harvard

Occupy Harvard Mission and Demands

We want a university that benefits the many, not a corporation that serves the few. 

We are here to protest the ways in which the Harvard administration, Harvard Corporation, and Harvard Management Company act to create inequality both inside and outside these gates. We recognize the power of the Occupy movement on a national and international scale, as well as its relevance to specific concerns at Harvard. This university is emblematic of the corporatization of higher education, a trend which has exacerbated income inequality instead of encouraging social justice and creative thought.

Harvard continues to propagate economic policies that shortchange the American people. For decades, Harvard has supplied Washington with economic policymakers who have presided over rising economic inequality. Meanwhile, introductory economics classes teach the same models that led us to that inequality and the current recession, and there are not enough economics courses that offer critical perspectives or socially just solutions. Last year, 29% of Harvard undergraduates went on to work in the financial sector at investment banks like Goldman Sachs, whose push toward speculation, deregulation, and outright dishonesty helped create the conditions we are here to protest. Harvard incentivizes the pursuit of careers that value profit and greed. We believe that Harvard should cultivate citizens committed to the public good.   

Over the last several years, Harvard has had the ability to respond creatively to economic uncertainty, but instead chose to divide our community. We see these divisions in the ratio of at least 180:1 between the compensation of Harvard’s highest-paid employee, the head of internal investments at HMC, and the lowest-paid employee, an entry-level custodial worker. While Harvard cares for its undergraduate students with generous financial aid, it refuses to care for its subcontracted workers with affordable healthcare and childcare benefits. These stark inequities reflect a privileging of profit over social responsibility, despite Harvard’s non-profit status. Harvard has invested its money in African land grabs, displacing local farmers and devastating the local environment. It has invested in private equity firms such as HEI Hotels & Resorts, which abuses the labor of a non-union immigrant workforce. Harvard’s lack of financial transparency prevents students and community members from having a voice in these investments. We envision a Harvard that encourages the pursuit of equality and diversity among its faculty, students, and staff, guided by the principles of transparency and socially responsible investing.

We stand in solidarity with all those who struggle for equality. 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. We stand in solidarity with working people at Harvard and across the world.

This is a living document. Our initial demands represent first steps toward a more just university. Their fulfillment does not necessarily mean we will leave the Yard.

  1. Settlement of a fair union contract for Harvard’s custodial workers, according to the demands they have put forth.
  2. A commitment to socially responsible investment, beginning with the decision to not reinvest in HEI Hotels & Resorts.

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  • three and a half hours later, #occupyharvard consenses on a messaging statement! will be up on our website later tonight. 5 hours ago




















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