Women's Group Seizes Harvard Building



Demand Low-Income Housing And Permanent Women's Center

About 150 women ended a march celebrating International Women's Day by seizing a Harvard building Saturday afternoon.

The Architectural Technology Workshop, located at 888 Memorial Drive near Peabody Terrace, houses design workshops and two classes per week in the Graduate School of Design. The building is part of the Treelands site and is slated for demolition in the plan to construct new graduate school housing.

The group of organizers included women from organizations including Bread and Roses, the Old Mole Women's Caucus, and Gay Women's Liberation.

At 7:15 Saturday, Maurice Kilbridge, dean of the Graduate School of Design, read a statement to the occupants calling the seizure "unauthorized and unlawful." The statement also said the women were subject to "grave dangers" because of the inadequate plumbing and heating facilities. The occupiers managed to restore the plumbing facilities by Sunday afternoon.

A University statement issued yesterday said that the two classes scheduled to meet in the building on Monday, professor Eli Traum's "Structural Design" and lecturer Fred Moavenzadeh's "Material Technology," will temporarily meet elsewhere.

Women from the Boston area, described by a spokeswoman as "feminist, anti-imperialist, socialist," planned Saturday's march. About eight women organized the building takeover, and few of the marchers themselves knew the building's locale. Harvard had stationed police in the Yard to prevent a seizure there.

In their first statement, issued at 3 p. m., the women declared "this liberated building a women's center where women from all over will be able to meet with each other, exchange ideas and feelings, and determine what we need to do together."

Saturday evening the building was filled with women from Radcliffe, Gay Liberation, and various local women's groups. Occupants and sympathizers provided tables of food and mattresses and child care facilities.

Saturday Night

The atmosphere in the main room was joyous and several women danced and sang. A blackboard was used for sign-ups for guard duty.

By about 1 a. m. many of the women had loft the building and gone home, leaving about three dozen to stay the night.

Yesterday afternoon over a hundred women gathered again at the "Liberated Women's Center" to discuss further plans and tactics.

That meeting reaffirmed the women's intent to occupy the building indefinitely and to continue to provide services of child-care, health referral, legal aid and self-defense to women.

Their 6 p. m. Sunday press release said, "The University has stated that this building is unavailable. We agree. This building now belongs to the women of this city."

During the afternoon meeting, Saundra Graham, president of the Riverside Planning team, and other residents of the neighboring Riverside community joined the women. They have been fighting Harvard for low-cost housing over the past two years. Those at the meeting allied themselves with the Riverside demand, and women in the community offered their active support for the women's center.

The three stated demands of the women occupying the building are: