SDS Sit-In Blocks Dean; Blacks Aid May's Escape

SDS members sat-in at University Hall for a total of five hours yesterday, trapping Dean May in his office for over an hour, until a group of black students escorted him past the SDS line.

The demonstrators left the building at 5 p. m. May had warned them that they faced disciplinary action. He said later that he intends to bring charges before the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities against all identifiable students who "denied him liberty of movement or took part in the obstructive demonstration."

SDS sat-in to demand that all Harvard painters' helpers be promoted to painters and that 20 per cent of the labor force on all Harvard construction sites be "blacks and third-world" workers.

The demands and the idea of an obstructive sit-in originated with Black Students for Action (BSFA), a group formed by Afro members dissatisfied with Afro's "delay" in taking action.

Tactics Disput

However, BSFA disagreed with SDS on the tactic of keeping May in his office, and its members eventually released him from SDS custody. Later in the afternoon, BSFA voted to dissolve itself, and suggested that SDS end its sit-in, which the SDS members refused to do at that time.


The SDS members first attempted to enter the Massachusetts Hall office of L. Gard Wiggins, administrative vice-president of the University, at 11 a. m. They were stopped by a University policeman, who said he would let in only four spokesmen. Four members of BSFA later met with Wiggins to discuss the helpers issue.

After being denied entrance into Mass Hall, about 100 demonstrators entered May's office in University Hall, where they tried to get him to call Wiggins over to talk with them. May said that he would not. "under these circumstances," and also refused their demand that he promote the helpers immediately.

After talking with the demonstrators for an hour and a half. May attempted to leave his office. The demonstrators linked arms and blocked his exit. May asked one of the SDS leaders, "Do I understand that you are not going to let me out, that

you're going to obstruct my movements?"

Assured that this was the case, May read a warning statement to the demonstrators, telling them that they were "forcefully interfering with [his] freedom of movement and obstructing the normal processes and activities essential to the functions of this office and this University, all in violation of the Faculty Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities and the Statutes of the University."

He announced that students who continued to demonstrate obstructively would be subject to disciplinary action and prosecution for trespass, and ordered all non-University demonstrators to leave immediately or face criminal trespass charges. Although May spoke to the crowd through a bull-horn, continual chanting, clapping, and foot-stamping at times drowned out his statement.

After reading the warning, May tried several times to get past the demonstrators and climbed over his desk in an attempt to find weak spots in the human chain blocking him in.


At this point, members of BSFA approached May and escorted him out through the SDS line.

This move clearly surprised the SDS members, who had decided to stage the sit-in on a request from BSFA.

After May had left Lafayette Ketton '73. spokesman for BSFA, explained why his organization had freed May. "No concrete action can be gained by keeping May here. He has influence, but he is not directly in charge in this matter. If we are going to apply direct pressure to any body, let it be Wiggins." he said.