About 65 singing, chanting women left 888 Memorial Drive-the Harvard-owned architectural building held as a women's center for over a week-at 2:45 p.m. yesterday, following threats of a police bust.
Bust rumors began circulating from various sources around 1 p.m. yesterday, although the University later denied that any specific police action had been planned. "I know there was nothing going to happen today," Robert Tonis, chief of University Police, said last night.
The women in the building, however-expecting a bust by MDC police at 2:30 p.m.-voted after a one and a half hour meeting to leave the building as a group. They marched out the door in pairs, with faces painted and carrying banners, and headed down Putnam Ave. toward the Square, where they were joined by 100 more chanting women.
As they left, they locked the door of the vacated Women's Center and hung a large paper banner reading "MDC: Sorry We Couldn't Be Here" draping the doorway. A small, handwritten letter in blue ballpoint was tacked on the building. The letter read:
Dear Cambridge Police. Harvard Cops, and MDC: We waited and waited but you never came. Where were you? Hope to see you in the near future. Keep up the good work. Yours in struggle, (signed) Jane Does 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
The signatures refer to Harvard's "Jane Doc" injunction obtained last Tuesday, a temporary court order directing the women to vacate the building immediately.
In Middlesex Superior Court yesterday morning, no action was taken on Harvard's petition for a permanent injunction, but John Harrington, the attorney representing Harvard, told the court that he will file a petition today for a contempt citation against the women.
According to a press statement released at 3:45 p.m. yesterday by Archibald Cox '34, professor of Law and trouble-shooter for the University, "court proceedings will be dropped."
"The whole Harvard-Radcliffe community is relieved to know that the women who occupied 888 Memorial Drive have left," Cox said, adding, "University officials gave no promises to the occupants of the building or their representatives."
Cox refused last night to comment on what sort of court action was planned or on whether or not steps had been taken to identify women in the building.
However, one source revealed last night that the University hired a commercial photographer last week to take photos for identification purposes, but obtained no useable pictures. "According to Cox, they didn't get any pictures even a mother could recognize," the source said.
The source also said that the University has taken the license number of all cars delivering material to the occupied building in the past week, and is investigating whether the car owners can be prosecuted.
"I demand that the police get the bums out of there." Frank W. Tomasello, Superior Court judge, said yesterday morning. "The police shouldn't wait for the authority of the university. This can be done without the necessity of a restraining order."
"It is up to the police to arrest the women if they do not leave in ten minutes from this moment," Tomasello
said. "And if the Cambridge police chief does not do the job they should get another one."