Protesters Demanding Afro-Am Hiring March to The Stadium, Demonstrate at Football Game
About 70 demonstrators protesting the lack of faculty in the University's Afro-American Studies Department marched this afternoon from the Yard to The Stadium, the site of the Harvard-Yale game.
The students, most dressed in black, formed a double-file line near University Hall just after noon today and took instructions from the rally's organizers.
Today's protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations and rallies aimed at prodding the University into hiring more professors for the Afro-American Studies program, which currently has only one tenured faculty member.
On Thursday, eight students defied Harvard administrators and spent the night camped out inside University Hall to protest the issue. About 150 demonstrators rallied outside the building in support of the sit-in.
"We want to be completely silent on the way down, but once we get into The Stadium we want to explode into chants," Tamara D. Duckworth '91 told fellow marchers before heading toward the Harvard-Yale game.
A few minutes later, with their heels clicking in step and their right fists raised in defiance, the protesters began marching out Johnston Gate and onto Mass. Ave.
The group remained silent as it made its way down John F. Kennedy St. toward the river. As they approached the Lars Anderson Bridge, Metropolitan Police officers ordered them to move out of the street and onto the sidewalk.
The protesters drew several confused stares from alumni and other spectators as they mingled with the football fans on their way to the University's athletic complex.
After regrouping, the students began chanting, "Dean Rosovsky, Derek Bok, we're sick and tired of all your talk," and marched through footpaths near the entrances to The Stadium. They eventually stopped and formed a line along a walkway between Bright Hockey Center and The Stadium.
Harvard police officers turned their attention from the ticket-scalpers and dignitaries to the protesters assembled outside The Stadium.
"Some were nice, some were not into it. Clearly there were some people who didn't want us there," Afro-Am concentrator Jeanne F. Theoharis '91 said, referring to the onlookers.
As the group cried, "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. We don't want excuses, we want faculty hired," a pennant peddler standing near where the demonstrators had stopped expressed bitterness about the protest to one of her colleagues.
"Why'd we have to run into one of these things? I don't believe this," said Betty Wright of N & D Novelties of New Haven, Conn.
At about 12:55 p.m., the group disbanded and many of the protesters headed inside the stadium with their signs and posters. Most of those going through the gates appeared to be admitted without difficulty.
Other students who took part in the protest said they saw the Yale game as a valuable opportunity for them to get their message across.
"I thought it was a good way to make people aware of the problem," said M. Scott Murphy '92, a Lowell House student who has been active in many of the recent rallies. Murphy said he thought the protest would convey the message that academic departments need to be more active in recruiting faculty for Afro-American Studies.