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Freshmen Say Noise From Harvard Yard Encampment Not Disruptive, Despite DSO Email

Matthews Hall is a first-year dorm located in the heart of Harvard Yard. Freshmen living in the Yard largely said the pro-Palestine encampment has not disrupted their ability to study for finals.
Matthews Hall is a first-year dorm located in the heart of Harvard Yard. Freshmen living in the Yard largely said the pro-Palestine encampment has not disrupted their ability to study for finals. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By Madeleine A. Hung and Azusa M. Lippit, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard College Dean of Students Thomas Dunne warned in a Saturday email that noise from the pro-Palestine encampment has “disrupted” freshmen living spaces, but many students who live in adjacent dorm buildings said the weeklong protest in Harvard Yard has not been a disturbance.

In more than 4o interviews and conversations with freshmen, nearly all said the encampment has not significantly changed their daily lives or prevented them from studying during reading period, a week when undergraduates submit final projects and prepare for exams.

Before the College’s final exam period began Thursday, students living in eight freshman dorms bordering the Old Yard occupation — Grays, Hollis, Holworthy, Matthews, Massachusetts, Stoughton, Thayer, and Weld Halls — prepared for their end-of-year assessments with a view of the more than 50 tents occupying Harvard Yard.

Guzalkhon Khaydarova ’27, a resident of Holworthy Hall, said she can see the encampment from her suite’s common room window.

“I don’t feel disrupted by what’s happening in the Yard, and people I know also didn’t have complaints about it,” Khaydarova said.

Many students said sound from the encampment — primarily music and chanting — has not thrown off their study plans during reading week, which falls just before final exams begin.

“I haven’t noticed anything. It hasn’t bothered any part of my daily routine,” Thayer Hall resident Paul Jeon ’27 said, adding that he has a direct view of the encampment from his dorm.

Helen Yan ’27 also has a view of the encampment from her dorm in Matthews Hall, but said the volume levels are not much different from typical Yard noise such as when tourists mill about the Yard or when the Harvard University Band decides to spontaneously perform.

Yan said she “doesn’t notice much of a disturbance” from the encampment, adding that the Yard has always been “fairly loud” and “typically has a lot of things going on.”

“I feel like I’m more disrupted by the music festival that’s going on behind my dorm,” Khaydarova said, referring to last week’s Arts First festival that took place in the Science Center Plaza.

The Office for the Arts at Harvard did not respond to a request for comment.

Students also noted that the encampment is quiet during the Yard’s quiet hours, which vary by dorm but span at least from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weeknights.

“It’s quiet during the night,” Khaydarova said, adding that when there is music or chanting during the day it typically lasts “only for 30 minutes or an hour.”

The students’ comments stand in stark contrast to the statements released by Dunne and the leaders of Harvard Hillel and Harvard Chabad, the two largest Jewish organizations on campus.

Harvard Hillel President Nathan B. Gershengorn ’26 wrote in an email Sunday that freshmen have been disrupted by the encampment.

“Today, there are Jewish students who have shared that they are renting hotels off-campus or feel unable to study in their rooms,” Gershengorn wrote.

Some Jewish freshmen said the encampment has prevented them from going about their daily routines and served as a distraction during the most important studying period of the semester.

Amelia M. Heller ’27, who serves as Hillel’s communications chair, said she can hear music, drumming, and chanting at “random” intervals during the day from her room in Wigglesworth Hall.

The noise has led her to study at the Widener and Lamont Libraries instead of her room.

“You make little changes and it’s like, ‘Okay, I’ll just walk a different way to class or I’ll study somewhere else,’ but the little changes add up,” Heller added. “In a time where routine is especially helpful, it’s hard when that routine is constantly changing because of something out of your control.”

But most freshmen did not express any major concerns with the ongoing encampment, which stretched into the start of the College’s final examination period on Thursday.

Yan said she has heard people talking and some noise, it has not “been something that would impede on my ability to do my work or that kind of thing.”

Adaolisa A. Mba ’27, who lives in a freshmen dorm outside the Yard, said that when she walked past the encampment, it was “so chill, like nothing.”

“Barely noises being made,” she added.

College administrators, however, are still intent on disciplining students for their involvement in the encampment.

More than 30 students participating in the encampment were called on Monday to appear before the Harvard College Administrative Board. The College has not announced a timeline for concluding its disciplinary process.

The protesters in the encampment have also not signaled how long they intend to remain in the Yard, but some members chanted “no divestment, no Commencement” during a rally on Wednesday.

—Staff writer Madeleine A. Hung can be reached at

—Staff writer Azusa M. Lippit can be reached at Follow her on X @azusalippit or on Threads @azusalippit.

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