When civil disobedience first came to Harvard in the 1960s, hordes of students took over University Hall, but last night’s “sleep out” for climate change just outside the doors of that very building was, well, not quite so dramatic.
At 9:00, three students pitched their tent and waited for HUPD to arrive. And waited. And waited.
The night was part of the Leadership Campaign, a statewide initiative organized by Students for a Just and Stable Future to push for 100% clean electricity in the next ten years. Members have participated in sleep-outs every Sunday in the Boston Common and have organized two earlier sleep-outs in the Yard.According to John E. Beatty ’11, the group could not get permits to sleep in the Yard, and HUPD has broken up the first two sleep-outs.
But the protestors haven’t really gotten the true civil disobedience experience.
“The cops give us the ‘hippie eyes,’ but they’re generally nice,” Jono M.L. Rosenthal ’13 said.
Although they have forced the students to pack up and move inside, “Then they’re like ‘stay warm,’ and ‘see you next week,’” Eva N. Roben ’13 said.
If the students get arrested or are called to court for these citations, there could be academic repercussions – including probation or a forced withdrawal for one semester.
“While I’d like to think that being arrested for climate change wouldn’t carry as serious a penalty, you never know with the Ad Board,” Beatty said, “It’s like Russian roulette.”
Finally, the HUPD cruiser pulled up at midnight.
As they were threatened with arrest if they refused to leave, the students decided to peacefully pack up their tent.
“Polite but firm as always,” Beatty commented.
“They allowed us to flagrantly break the administrations rules for three hours before forcing us back into dorms powered by dirty energy,” Beatty said. “But we’ll be back tomorrow night, and so will they.”
The group will be camping out in the Yard every night this week as part of the final push before international negotiations begin in Copenhagen on Monday.