In Occupy Harvard’s latest attempt to maintain visibility on campus, approximately 40 students, University employees, and locals accelerated the movement’s next phase, known as Occupy 2.0, with a march around Harvard Yard on Wednesday.
“It’s a reinvention of Occupy, moving onto the next stage where we try to get more people to think about the issues,” said Jennifer A. Sheehy-Skeffington, a graduate student and Occupy Harvard proponent.
Earlier this month, University administrators removed the last remnants of the movement’s once bustling camp. Protesters had descended upon the Yard and assembled a tent city in front of the John Harvard statue in November, a move that caused University administrators to restrict and monitor access to the Yard, to the chagrin of many students and visitors.
Sheehy-Skeffington explained that the protesters plan to organize more events such as Wednesday’s in an effort to gain broader support from the Harvard and Cambridge communities. Occupy 2.0 also hopes to organize events such as teach-ins in the near future.
The Bread and Puppet Theater, a political puppet troupe, joined Occupy Harvard’s march and presented a three-part show on the national Occupy movement’s history.
“It was a spectacular event, which basically brought a smile to the face of everyone and brought in a lot of people,” said Giuliana Chamedes, a Harvard teaching assistant in history and literature. “It was part of the goals of 2.0, an event to illustrate the goals of Occupy movements around the world in a fun and informative way.”
According to movement members, Occupy Harvard, now stripped of its physical manifestation, will push for greater transparency from the Harvard administration and seek to make connections with the broader community.
“2.0 is about moving beyond the occupation and focusing on action,” Occupy supporter and Student Labor Action Movement member Gabriel H. Bayard ’15 said. “It’s about being more flexible yet still maintaining a presence on campus.”
Chamedes said, “Even though the encampment has been dismantled, Occupy Harvard is here to stay.”
According to Chamedes, Occupy 2.0 is particularly concerned with the layoffs some University Library workers face. After the march, Occupy protestors joined a library workers’ rally in a show of solidarity. Last Thursday, Harvard University Library Executive Director Helen Shenton said that the library system will decrease its workforce as part of its ongoing reorganization, an announcement that led to the protest on Wednesday.
“While it’s not an Occupy Harvard campaign, No Layoffs is really a coalition campaign to protect Harvard library workers,” Bayard said.
Occupy Harvard members said that they will continue to collaborate with the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers and student groups such as SLAM to petition against library cuts.
—Staff writer David Song can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.