Three Harvard students arrested Friday during a protest against recent Medicaid cutbacks rejected an offer by the University to post bail that evening.
"We didn't reject in principle being bailed out by the University, but when we learned that people at the demonstration and members of the movement had collected the bail, we felt better by being bailed out by our friends," Coleman P. Harrison '71 said yesterday.
The students-Carroll S. Dorgan '71, John M. Hosken '73, and Harrison-were charged with assault as they tried to enter the Department of Public Welfare in downtown Boston during the demonstration sponsored by the Progressive Labor Party.
Harrison is also charged with armed robbery. He allegedly demanded at knifepoint that a policeman hand over a gun.
A Boston Superior Court ruling ordered the release of Hosken and Dorgan this morning on personal recognizance. Bail was set at $5000 for Harrison and $1000 for Dorgan and Hosken in Roxbury District Court Friday night, but was raised to $5000 for all three at Saturday morning's arraignment.
Only Harrison was able to post the necessary five per cent bail collateral to gain release on Friday. The Progressive Labor Party and other sympathizers of the protest collected bail moneyfor Hosken's and Dorgan's release Friday, but the two returned to jail on Saturday when the courts increased their bail from $1000 to $5000.
Dean Epps said yesterday that, when he talked to the students while in custody Friday afternoon, they seemed "amenable to being bailed out by the University."
"Then their lawyer came and said that he didn't want Harvard to bail them out," Epps added. "I went back and talked to the students again and told them I would wait to see that they did get out, especially since Harrison appeared to be injured."
Trying to Help
Epps said that when he went to the police station Friday, he did not know why the students were in jail. "I was just trying to be helpful, although it didn't work," he added.
When Harvard posts bail for a student, the cost is added to his term bill, Epps said.
Harrison said Sunday that the three students, along with six others who were arrested, will offer a joint defense at their trial, which is set for May 24 in Roxbury District Court.
Yesterday, Dorgan called the charges a "farce, representative of the total depravity of the system."
In the Paddy Wagon
Harrison denied he had a knife or any other weapon on his person at any time Friday. "It was obvious that they were just randomly throwing people in the paddy wagon," he said, adding that he does not even know just where the alleged armed assault took place.
"We're fighting against the Medicaid cuts, announced two weeks ago," Dorgan said. "It's obvious we won't succeed until we smash the entire capitalist system and the bosses who run it, and we saw a lot of bosses this weekend."