The Occupy Harvard protest appears to be entering its second, more serious stage having amassed the support of over 100 faculty members and successfully derailing a Newt Gingrich visit to campus. Gingrich has been catching a lot of flak lately for his ties to corporate America — even super lobbyist and felon Jack Abramoff is speaking out against Gingrich's "consulting" fees — and being called out on the issue during yet another Gingrich-plugging-Gingrich event won't help him change the dialogue. "Derailing" might be a too strong a word, though, given Gingrich's graceful recovery to the disruptive protest on Friday, but given the fact that Gingrich cancelled his planned book-signing event at the Harvard campus bookstore, the Coop, the Occupiers appear to have made their point. And they plan on making it a lot more often as A-listers visit the campus in the near future.
After we reported last week that the protesters suffered from a big solidarity problem, Occupy Harvard seems to have taken a turn towards the mainstream in Cambridge. On Monday, the protesters announced the success of a petition signed by 110 Harvard professors, some more prominent and more outspoken than others, that condemns the administration locking down Harvard Yard in response to the students' decision to set up camp in front of the John Harvard statue nearly two weeks ago. The measure led to some ridicule in the press for Harvard keeping even their version of a purportedly all-inclusive protest movement as exclusive as the university itself, but coupled with plans to target celebrities and politicians visiting campus along with the recent flood of support suggest that the protest hopes to take advantage of Harvard's high profile.