Divest Harvard Members Block Mass. Hall Entrance, Demand Open Meeting with Corporation

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Sandra Y. L. Korn ’14, a Crimson editorial editor, said that shaming is "really powerful in galvanizing support, but it didn't put pressure on the administration."

Many students said they believed that leveraging federal law and University funds by drawing on donor support is a more effective means to securing administrative support.

While members of Divest Harvard said they did not know whether Faust was in her office during the event, a University official confirmed that Faust was in Washington, D.C., at a meeting of the presidents of member institutions of the Association of American Universities.

“We recognize that members of our community have a variety of perspectives on how to respond most effectively to the serious dangers posed by climate change,” University spokesperson Kevin Galvin wrote in a statement. “President Faust, other members of the Harvard Corporation, and representatives of Harvard Management Company have discussed these issues on many occasions, including multiple meetings with Divest Harvard.”

Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde was the only member of the administration to address the blockade, according to Divest Harvard coordinator Chloe S. Maxmin ’15. Maxmin said that Lassonde spoke to the crowd in the morning and said that while the students had a right to protest, they may face disciplinary action since they were blocking a building entrance.

About four Harvard University Police Department officers stood at the outskirts of the rally to monitor the situation. Because the Divest Harvard students only blockaded one entrance to Massachusetts Hall and there were other ways into the building, an officer said the rally was not disruptive and the coalition was entitled to its free speech.

When asked how long the blockade would last, Maxmin said that Divest Harvard’s position is that “it is completely in the hands of the administration” and did not offer a specific timeframe in mind.

—Staff writer Kristina D. Lorch can be reached at klorch@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Amna H. Hashmi can be reached at amnahashmi@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @amna_hashmi.

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