Occupations of campuses on opposite coasts got underway last night, as University of California Berkeley and Harvard University students joined the Occupy movement.
In a stirring difference, however, a peaceful Occupation of Harvard Yard contrasted dramatically with reports and videos of police brutality at Berkeley where 39 were arrested last night after a rally in Sproul Plaza. The Daily Californian newspaper live blogged until the wee hours of the morning, when protests were still going on.
At Harvard, hundreds massed in front of the locked gates of Harvard Yard and marched around Harvard Square.
By the end of the night, tents had been pitched in the Yard, and although some Harvard students were vehement in their support of the Occupation, others were getting annoyed.
Jenna, a Harvard Junior who declined to give her last name, was frustrated at being locked out of the Yard because she was unable to get to her dorm room, despite being in favor of the movement in general. “There are some things I support,” she said explaining that her midterms were in the morning, “But [the occupation of Harvard] is disrupting peoples’ lives.”
Carrying signs that read “We Want a University for the 99%”, members of Occupy Boston who had crossed the river into Cambridge in a show of solidarity marched with Harvard students through historic Harvard Square to the now-familiar chants of “The banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” and “This is what democracy looks like!”
At Berkeley this morning, unlike at Harvard, the community is reeling from yesterday’s brutality. The UC Berkeley administration has stated it will not tolerate an encampment, while the Harvard administration’s statement was supportive. “Free speech and the free exchange of ideas are hallmarks of the Harvard experience, and important values for the university community to uphold,” said the University.