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Preservationist Shackles Self To Union Gate

By Jay S. Kimmelman

Protester Michael Adams remained locked and chained to the gate of the Harvard Union for nearly two hours yesterday, though the hammers of construction workers resounded through the air yesterday.

Until the snow started yesterday afternoon, the shackled Adams blasted the University's plan to divide the Union's Great Hall into three sections.

"Preserve the Union," shouted Adams, as two other protesters distributed copies of a statement by Adams explaining his protest and a New York Times article concerning the renovations.

Among the onlookers at the start of the demonstration were Director of Planning for FAS Philip J. Parsons, Senior Vice President for Property Operations and Construction David Zewinski and Secretary of the Committee to Save the Great Hall of the Harvard Union H. A. Crosby Forbes '50.

Parsons said he was not impressed with Adams' demonstration.

"I think it is one thing to stand outside chained for two hours and go home," Parsons later commented.

"But it's another thing to spend nine years planning a project around the education for 6,000 students," he added.

According to the fliers, Adams holds a degree in preservation from Columbia University. Adams says he is currently involved with the preservation of historic architecture in New York City's Harlem.

"[The renovations are] an act of vandalism," Adams said. "They are taking a gift, meant to be a memorial to the Spanish American War, and they are treating it as if it was just another building."

While he was chained to the Union's right gate, Adams told the various students, staff members and others who walked by that Harvard's plans to renovate the Union are ill-considered.

He criticized the University's reluctance to reconsider its decision.

"Harvard has not demonstrated that this is the only or best possible solution," Adams said.

Adams said his demonstration alone would probably not cause the University to reconsider, but he is "just trying to let the world know that the University is about to do something barbarous."

Parsons later denied the validity of many of Adams's accusations that the University could build the humanities center without reconfiguring the Great Hall.

"This little group opposed to the project is managing to stir up concern by repeatedly making assertions that are completely unfounded," said Parsons.

Adams was reluctant to place blame for the project on either the architectural firm, Goody Clancy & Associates, or Harvard's Board of Overseers.

According to Adams, those groups take direction from the permanent bureaucracy.

"It's all been done through the leadership of Phillip Parsons," he added.

Parsons responded that it was flattering to think that any one person in the Harvard administration could conceivably have so much power.

Parsons said the idea for the renovations was completely formed by the architects and that the administration did not conceive of the project's design before going to the company.

Local architectural designer and critic Phillip Arcidi, and Adams' friend Iten Fales, the wife of a Harvard alumnus and teaching fellow, helped Adams distribute his fliers.

Arcidi is a member of the Committee to Save the Great Hall of the Harvard Union. Adams, who arrived in Cambridge last night, is staying with the Fales.

"It is truly an eleventh hour effort," said Arcidi. "The more word of how insidious the University is, the more hope we have," he added.

Forbes, one of the leaders of an alumni group protesting the renovations, said that although Adams is not officially connected with the Committee to Save the Great Hall, the organization supported the demonstration.

Throughout the protest, pedestrians slowed as they approached the shackled Adams, who wore a blue hat, a tan scarf and a yellow carnation.

At least one of the passers-by sympathized with Adams.

"Knowing the hall, I tend to agree [with Adams]," said Stratis Haviaras, curator of the poetry room and editor of Harvard Review.

Haviaras upheld Adams' right to stage a protest.

"This University declares itself as a University of diversity of opinions," Harviaras said. "As such, it is right that Adams is protesting the renovation of the Great Hall."

But seeing the construction already underway, Haviaras was doubtful whether Adams's efforts would save the Union's Great Hall.

One Harvard police car remained across the street for the majority of the demonstration.

Harvard Police Lt. John F. Rooney, who was at the scene for a time, said the police would not prevent Adams' demonstration.

"This is a mild form of protest. We respect his opinion," Rooney said. "We are very well versed in controversial situations at this University, so we are not too alarmed by this.

Parsons later denied the validity of many of Adams's accusations that the University could build the humanities center without reconfiguring the Great Hall.

"This little group opposed to the project is managing to stir up concern by repeatedly making assertions that are completely unfounded," said Parsons.

Adams was reluctant to place blame for the project on either the architectural firm, Goody Clancy & Associates, or Harvard's Board of Overseers.

According to Adams, those groups take direction from the permanent bureaucracy.

"It's all been done through the leadership of Phillip Parsons," he added.

Parsons responded that it was flattering to think that any one person in the Harvard administration could conceivably have so much power.

Parsons said the idea for the renovations was completely formed by the architects and that the administration did not conceive of the project's design before going to the company.

Local architectural designer and critic Phillip Arcidi, and Adams' friend Iten Fales, the wife of a Harvard alumnus and teaching fellow, helped Adams distribute his fliers.

Arcidi is a member of the Committee to Save the Great Hall of the Harvard Union. Adams, who arrived in Cambridge last night, is staying with the Fales.

"It is truly an eleventh hour effort," said Arcidi. "The more word of how insidious the University is, the more hope we have," he added.

Forbes, one of the leaders of an alumni group protesting the renovations, said that although Adams is not officially connected with the Committee to Save the Great Hall, the organization supported the demonstration.

Throughout the protest, pedestrians slowed as they approached the shackled Adams, who wore a blue hat, a tan scarf and a yellow carnation.

At least one of the passers-by sympathized with Adams.

"Knowing the hall, I tend to agree [with Adams]," said Stratis Haviaras, curator of the poetry room and editor of Harvard Review.

Haviaras upheld Adams' right to stage a protest.

"This University declares itself as a University of diversity of opinions," Harviaras said. "As such, it is right that Adams is protesting the renovation of the Great Hall."

But seeing the construction already underway, Haviaras was doubtful whether Adams's efforts would save the Union's Great Hall.

One Harvard police car remained across the street for the majority of the demonstration.

Harvard Police Lt. John F. Rooney, who was at the scene for a time, said the police would not prevent Adams' demonstration.

"This is a mild form of protest. We respect his opinion," Rooney said. "We are very well versed in controversial situations at this University, so we are not too alarmed by this.

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