The Harvard iteration of the Occupy protests is ironically, appropriately, and unwillingly now the most exclusive Occupy protest in the country. Guards closed and locked the gates to Harvard Yard in the minutes leading up to the inaugural Occupy Harvard general assembly, meaning that the tent city now built in front of the John Harvard statue will be as exclusive as the university itself. Only people flashing Harvard IDs were allowed in the Yard for the 7 p.m. protest, and Harvard police officers stood sentinel into the night to keep the riffraff out. The enforced exclusivity reads as a pretty ironic asterisk on the latest iteration of the supposedly all-inclusive protest movement, and the students participating in the occupation aren't too happy about it.
"I think it's absurd. Do we really need eight guards per gate?" college junior and veteran Occupy participant Nicandro Iannacci told The Harvard Crimson. "The idea that the only people allowed here to have this conversation are members of the Harvard community, specifically, is wrong. Why not welcome more people in?"
With the acceptance rate having dropped to a record low of 6.2 percent this year, Harvard College is already a problematic place to represent the interests of the 99 Percent. This is not to say that all Harvard students are wealthy sons and daughters of the 1 percent. In fact, Harvard also holds the record for the most financial aid offered to students and has been aggressively promoting socioeconomic diversity on campus since Harvard president Larry Summers introduced the initiative in 2004. But Harvard's generosity wouldn't be possible without the help of the hedge fund-loving Harvard Corporation, who boosted the university's endowment 21 percent in the past year. It now totals $32 billion, making Harvard the second wealthiest nonprofit institution in the world, right behind the Catholic church.