Background Of Sanctuary Plan

The plan for putting Marine Paul Olimpieri in Andover Chapel was hatched by seven Harvard Divinity School students who decided during the summer that their chapel should be open to draft resisters.

The seven--most of whom are resisters themselves--acted as an "ad hoc group" representing the students of Harvard Divinity School.

"Our action did not have the authorization of all Divinity School students, nor of the Divinity School and University Administration," said first-year student Lawrence E. Stager, one of the seven.

"We hoped," Stager continued, "that the concern would be not with the minor element of permission, but with the response of the Harvard Divinity School faculty and students."

Olimpieri's arrival at Andover was engineered with the aid of the Committee of Religious Concern for Peace (the New England branch of the National Committee of Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam) and New England Resistance, whom Olimpieri had contacted before leaving his post.

When they learned on Sunday, September 22, that Olimpieri was arriving, the seven Divinity School students immediately presented a letter to Krister Stendahl, dean of the Divinity School, to inform him of their action. Stendahl received the letter at 12:15 p.m.; the press was informed of the sanctuary at 3 p.m.