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Student Launches Petition to Ask Occupy Harvard to Move

By Gina K. Hackett, Contributing Writer

Annoyed with the locked gates of Harvard Yard, John C. Lo ’15 launched an online petition Sunday urging Occupy Harvard protestors to move their tents outside the Yard, in the hopes that Cambridge’s prime tourist attraction and social space can be reopened to the public.

After Occupy Harvard protesters set up tents in Harvard Yard last Wednesday night, the administration closed nearly all the gates and restricted access to individuals with Harvard ID’s.

Lo said the “Free Harvard” petition is meant to be a voice of compromise between the Harvard administration and the Occupy Harvard movement. The petition suggests that the protesters relocate to an adjacent area, where they would not be out of sight or mind. such as the grass in front of the Science Center.

“It’s not a zero-sum game,” Lo wrote in an e-mail. As of Tuesday evening, the petition had 601 signatures.

Lo said that moving the protests to an area outside the Yard gates would benefit the Occupy Harvard movement by mitigating the negative image many hold of the protestors.

But at least one Occupy Harvard protestor said that the protest would not move.

“Student inconvenience is not on the level of global oppression,” said Sandra Y. L. Korn ’14, who is also a Crimson editorial editor. “I have little concern for students who have to walk 30 seconds more to get to CVS.”

Korn said the Free Harvard movement is directed at the wrong people. The administrators, not the protestors, made the decision to restrict gate access, she said.

“We would like the gates open just as much as everyone else,” Korn said.

Students are not the only ones who have been inconvenienced by the decision to restrict gate access.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Hahvahd Tour booth by the Harvard Square T station had only one tour guide and no customers.

Tourists who have come from around the world to see Harvard have been disappointed that some of the main Harvard attractions are off-limits to them, tour guide Wallace Duarte said.

“Peeking is not like seeing,” he added.

Korn said relocating the Occupy Harvard tents to another location other than the Yard would diminish the movement’s effectiveness.

“The point of civil disobedience is to disrupt business as usual,” Korn said.

“It’s important for us to be right here and we have no plans to leave.”

But Lo does not think that relocation would equal defeat for the Occupy Harvard movement, particularly if the protestors move to a public area like the Science Center.

“Free Harvard is a non-partisan petition composed of signatories who have transcended their political differences to effectively resolve a common situation,” Lo wrote in an e-mail.

“This is how democracy should work.”

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