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Protesters March To Harvard President Garber’s Home, Demand Start of Negotiations

Harvard students and Cambridge residence march to the home of interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber '76 on Monday evening.
Harvard students and Cambridge residence march to the home of interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber '76 on Monday evening. By Frank S. Zhou
By Michelle N. Amponsah, Joyce E. Kim, and Jo B. Lemann, Crimson Staff Writers

More than 400 Harvard students and Cambridge residents marched to the private residence of interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 during a pro-Palestine rally Monday evening, after Garber refused to negotiate with protesters amid their ongoing encampment in Harvard Yard.

The rally, organized by Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine — an unrecognized coalition of pro-Palestine groups, started outside Johnston Gate at 7 p.m. with speeches from organizers before beginning their march to Garber’s home.

Harvard students gathered inside the Yard while non-Harvard affiliates waited outside the gate due to restrictions on access to the Yard.

Speakers repeatedly invoked past protest movements at Harvard, including those against the Vietnam War, when students occupied University Hall, and South African apartheid, which saw student sit-ins outside administrators’ offices.

They also chanted, “Harvard University we know what side you’re on, remember South Africa, remember Vietnam.”

Around 7:30 p.m., demonstrators marched from Johnston Gate to Brattle Street. Cambridge police redirected traffic as the group marched through the streets to Garber’s residence, where they gathered outside holding signs and chanting.

Cambridge Police Department spokesperson Robert Goulston said the department works to provide “ample space and opportunities for the public to engage in their constitutional rights.

“CPD’s fundamental goal is to always provide a safe environment for everyone who is present during protests,” he added.

The rally came hours after Garber warned students could be placed on indefinite leaves of absences if they continue their encampment in Harvard Yard, a statement that marked his first public comments since the occupation began nearly two weeks ago.

Pro-Palestine students first mounted the encampment in the center of the Yard on April 24 as similar protests sprung up on campuses around the country, resulting in thousands of student arrests and suspensions.

If student organizers are placed on involuntary leave or suspended from the College, it could open the door for police to remove the students from the Yard.

Garber, however, said in an interview last month that there is a “very high bar” before the University would ask police to respond to a student protest.

On Friday, HOOP organizers set a deadline of Monday at 5 p.m. for the University to begin negotiations on their demands and wrote in a statement that administration has failed to “engage in good-faith negotiation” with organizers.

Though the group held a press conference outside Johnston Gate at 5 p.m., organizers did not specify what further action they would take after the University did not respond to their deadline.

Five Harvard University Police Department officers stood outside Garber’s home, facing the protesters. The officers, three of whom were stationed outside Garber’s front door while the two others stood in his driveway, remained for the duration of the protest.

HOOP organizers gave a “performance review” of Garber’s first four months in office. Protesters also repeatedly referred to Garber as “Alan Garbage.”

“President Garber, you’ve failed to come to meetings with your students months after months with reasonable demands,” the first speaker said.

“More than all of that, you have failed to be a reasonable leader of this University. There are dozens of students sleeping on your lawn because you will not sit across the table from them,” the speaker added. “What are you afraid of? Shame.”

Another speaker suggested that Garber could quickly lose the support of the University’s two governing boards.

“Garber thinks he can ignore us and maintain his support from the Harvard Management Corporation,” the organizer said. “His mistake is that he thinks the Harvard Management Corporation and the board of trustees will keep him safe. He thinks that they’ll stand behind him as he ignores student voices.”

“But let’s remember that in December, the Harvard Management Corporation released a letter expressing unequivocal support of Claudine Gay before forcing her to less than resign a month later,” the organizer added. “The Corporation won’t save you, Alan.”

The speaker was likely referring to the Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing body. The Harvard Management Company, a separate body led by Chief Executive Officer N.P. “Narv” Narvekar, is responsible for stewarding Harvard’s $50.7 billion endowment.

Kojo Acheampong ’26, a co-founder of the African and African American Resistance Organization, said Garber and his administration should come to the bargaining table in a speech outside the interim president’s home.

“It would have been so easy. It would have been so easy to simply negotiate,” Acheampong said. “But you want to make it difficult. So we’re going to force you to concede.”

“The same way you try to intimidate us, we will continue to intimidate you,” he added.

Harvard spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain declined to comment on the march to Garber’s residence or on the protesters’ criticisms.

The Monday rally and march came on day 13 of the encampment. While protesters have maintained that they will remain until Harvard meets their demands or they are forcibly removed from the Yard, it is unclear how much longer the encampment will continue.

Before the group of protesters left Garber’s home to return to Cambridge Commons, someone in the crowd shouted, “We will be back next week.”

The group then began to chant: “We’ll be back! We’ll be back!”

—Staff writer Michelle N. Amponsah can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @mnamponsah.

—Staff writer Jo B. Lemann can be reached at Follow her on X @Jo_Lemann.

—Staff writer Joyce E. Kim can be reached at Follow her on X at @joycekim324.

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