PSLM Defies HUPD, Occupies Byerly Hall for Six Hours

Living wage protest disrupts welcome for '04

Risking arrest and disciplinary action by the Administrative Board, about 30 members of the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) occupied Byerly Hall for six hours on Friday to attract the attention of visiting prospective first-years and promote their campaign for a living wage at Harvard.

Members refused to heed requests by the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) that they leave the building.

Instead, they spent the afternoon handing leaflets to pre-frosh and their parents, answering questions and holding scripted "teach-ins" every hour between 12 and 6 p.m. about the group's goal of winning a minimum $10.25 hourly wage for all Harvard employees.


They did not attempt to interfere with the normal workings of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, which is housed in Byerly Hall.

Administrators in charge of pre-frosh weekend were outraged at first when the protesters entered Byerly Hall, but later they attempted to put a positive spin on the demonstration.

"This is outrageous. I'm willing to tolerate this for a couple of minutes, but they can't stay here," said Director of Admissions Marilyn McGrath Lewis '70-'73 when she first encountered the demonstrators.

But two hours later, McGrath Lewis said in an interview that the protests were "not a problem" and served as an educational experience for the pre-frosh.

"It's giving students a pretty good idea of a current issue at the College," she said.

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