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Rain Pushes Some Occupiers Indoors

By Mercer R. Cook and Alexandra M. Slaight, Crimson Staff Writers

Occupy Harvard may have a larger obstacle than the security at Boylston gate: the weather.

Wednesday’s rain caused some participants to leave their tents behind for dry quarters, according to members of the Occupy Harvard movement.

Student leaders of the event say the rain is not posing any major problems, but others acknowledged the latest downpour may prevent some students from remaining in the tents.

“I think the rain will definitely deter a number of students,” said William P. Whitham, a member of the Student Labor Action Movement. “It’s unfortunate, but I don’t think it’s avoidable.”

Whitham noted, however, that the Occupy Harvard movement does not require a large number of people for the tent city in the Yard to remain active.

“We don’t need all of our tents to be 100 percent full all the time,” Whitham said. “We just need to make sure there are enough people to hold down the fort in the encampment, and I think we’ll be ok.”

For some supporters of Occupy, the rain is ending their involvement, at least temporarily.

“Honestly, I support the Occupy Harvard movement in general, but I don’t think it’s worth sleeping in the rain for,” said a former tent-city resident, who wished to remain anonymous. According to the student, several other people have said they won’t be coming back to sleep under the stars unless the weather is nice.

“I think a lot of people kind of just think it’s cool to be a part of a movement like this,” the student said. “But at the end of the day, they’re going to choose comfort over sleeping outdoors.”

Despite the potential loss of student bodies, organizers of Occupy Harvard say that the core of the movement is still strong.

“I don’t think the rain has had much effect on the Occupy Harvard movement,” said Sandra Y. L. Korn ’14, a SLAM member and crimed. “I think people are going to continue to support the movement no matter what the weather is like.”

Korn did note, however, that the rain forced Occupy Harvard organizers to move their information booth inside of a tent, but she said that otherwise the movement is dealing well with the weather.

“We got a lot of advice from people at Occupy Boston for how to deal with the rain,” she said. “I think we’re very well prepared.”

Participants have put tarps over their tents and placed styrofoam pads under the tents.

Whitham said he feels the movement will persist through the rain.

“Our movement has a lot of momentum right now,” Whitham said. “I don’t think that rain is going to be able to take that away.”

—Staff writer Mercer R. Cook can be reached at mcook@college.harvard.edu..

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction.

CORRECTION: NOV. 21, 2011

The Nov. 17 article "Rain Pushes Some Occupiers Indoors" incorrectly stated that an information booth was moved inside a freshman dorm. It was, in fact, placed under a tent.

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