Cambridge (Massachussetts), Nov 12 (IANS): The Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate greed has finally arrived at Harvard University, which as one activist put it ironically produces the very one percent they are protesting against.
Students have pitched tents in the university's Harvard Yard, but one can't join the protest without a Harvard ID card as the University administration has posted police at the entrances with instructions to keep all outsiders away, according to CBS News.
Lamenting upon the heightened security, one protestor told the daily student newspaper Harvard Crimson: "I think it's absurd. Do we really need eight guards per gate?"
In a statement released Friday by Occupy Harvard, the group complained that the lockdown has "reinforced the institutional exclusivity and elitism that Occupy Harvard seeks to change."
"It certainly is ironic that the Occupy movement has reached Harvard, considering that this is the school that produces many of the nation's one percenters," CBS said noting Harvard rejected about 94 percent of its applicants last year.
According to Boston Globe, on Wednesday night the university shut down access to Harvard Yard to head off several hundred demonstrators, including many students, who had gathered at the law school and planned to march into the historic quad.
The gates were opened around 10:30 p.m. to students with Harvard identification cards. The students then converged on the John Harvard statue, where they set up 23 tents and refused to move despite pleas from a dean.
By Thursday evening, the tents were still raised, and so was security. Access to Harvard Yard remained limited to ID holders, and the school said it would remain that way "for the time being.''
Harvard released a statement Thursday explaining its decision to close the Yard, with officials citing a rush on a university gate Wednesday night as a major factor.
"First, we respect and protect the rights of members of the Harvard community to express their views on matters of public debate," the statement said.
But "The university has a fundamental obligation to be attentive to the safety, security, and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff on campus.''
"The events of (Wednesday) night raised safety concerns: The number of demonstrators was large, many of the demonstrators were not from Harvard, and specific behaviours were troubling.''