Approximately 20 demonstrators representing Reclaim Harvard Law, which is currently occupying part of a building on Harvard’s campus, and Brandeis University’s own building-crashers Ford Hall 2015, interrupted a Brandeis awards ceremony on Thursday honoring Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow.
Ironically, Minow was being recognized for her “scholarship on race relations and legal issues.”
Also ironically, the protesters weren’t there to confront one of the theses of Minow’s presentation (titled “Bystanders, Upstanders and Justice”) – “expanding the full scope of civil liberties” beyond the public realm into the private.
They were there to tell Dean Minow “Your school is racist. Your school is not inclusive. Harvard Law School does not teach justice.”
Shortly after the ceremony began on Thursday, approximately 20 student protesters from Reclaim Harvard Law and Ford Hall 2015 entered Rapaporte with signs and banners that featured slogans like “#Reclaim Harvard Law” and “Racial Justice Lives at Belinda Hall,” as well as some that showed a revised version of the Harvard seal with black silhouettes carrying sheaves of wheat on their backs. The Harvard seal features three sheaves of wheat.
[The protesters] ended their chant by reiterating a quote from Black Panther activist Assata Shakur that had been widely used during the Ford Hall 2015 occupation in November and December: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
One student stated Minow has failed to engage with the Harvard activists and not listened to their demands. Minow responded by saying, “I am very honored by your upstanding, and I’ve been in many conversations with many of you, and so it’s interesting for you to say I don’t listen. Sometimes when I’ve invited you to have more meetings — indeed every time — I’ve never gotten a response.”
“You are comfortable with the status quo,” one protester, a Harvard Law student responded, adding, “You are constantly condescending, like you know what’s best for us.”
Doesn’t Dean Minow get it?
“Engaging” with the protesters actually means “doing exactly what they want.” “Listening to student demands” actually includes the followup “… and then doing exactly they want.” Being “comfortable with the status quo” actually means “you’re not doing exactly what (the protesters) want.”
I thought Ivy Leaguers were smart.
IMAGE: Harvard Law Record/Flickr