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Harvard University students begin Pro-Palestinian protests, pitching tents on Harvard Yard

Tent encampments go up at Harvard University as students begin Pro-Palestinian protests
Tent encampments go up at Harvard University as students begin Pro-Palestinian protests 00:55

CAMBRIDGE - Pro-Palestinian protests began at Harvard University on Wednesday with students putting up tents on Harvard Yard. Harvard is the latest college campus to see protests inspired by Columbia University students against the Israel-Hamas war.

Similar protests started earlier this week at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University and Emerson College.

Tent encampments on Harvard Yard

Aerial footage showed dozens of people gathered around the tents in front of the John Harvard statute. 

Pro-Palestinian protests begin at Harvard University, with tents set up on Harvard Yard on Wednesday.  CBS Boston

The Harvard Crimson had reported that the university was restricting access to Harvard Yard until Friday.

"Structures, including tents and tables, are not permitted in the Yard without prior permission. Blocking pedestrian pathways or access to building entrances is prohibited," a sign at an entrance to the Yard said. "Students violating these policies are subject to disciplinary action."

Pro-Palestinian Protests Continue On US College Campuses
A sign posted outside the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.  Mel Musto/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Harvard interim president Alan Garber told the student newspaper on Monday that he wouldn't rule out a police response to protests, but said it would require a "very high bar."

An advocacy group made up of students and staff called Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine said about 30 people are protesting in 14 tents. They want Harvard to divest from Israel and "reinvest resources in Palestinian academic initiatives, communities, and culture." 

"By launching its encampment this week, HOOP challenges the University's moral, institutional, and financial complicity in the genocide of the Palestinian people," the group said in a statement. 

Year of turmoil at Harvard

Harvard said last month that undergraduate applications dropped 5% after a tumultuous year. Claudine Gay, who was Harvard's first Black and second woman president, resigned in January after just six months on the job. 

Gay was sharply criticized over Congressional testimony last fall where she said antisemitic language doesn't necessarily constitute bullying and harassment. 

The Anti-Defamation League gave Harvard, MIT and Tufts failing grades for fighting antisemitism in April, saying many schools in New England are still "not doing the basics to protect Jewish students. 

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