Harvard Law Occupation Expands

Harvard Law students

Harvard Law students

Reclaim Harvard Law Movement Gains Strength In Occupy Movement

Students from the two best law schools in the world have combined forces. A week after Reclaim Harvard Law–a group of Harvard Law activists–took over the Caspersen Student Lounge at Harvard Law School, 10 Yale Law students have joined in the occupation. The group of activists began a sit-in last Monday (February 15) in what they’ve renamed “Belinda Hall” after the slave of the Royall family, which was instrumental in the establishment of Harvard Law School.

And the group doesn’t plan on stopping there, Bianca Tylek told the Harvard Crimson. According to Tylek, who’s a third year law student at Harvard and member of Reclaim Harvard Law, they’re hoping to gain support from other graduate level programs at Harvard, including the School of Education and Medical School.

“It was great to share some experiences,” Adan Martinez, a Yale Law student told the Crimson. “There are ways that Harvard is organizing that are inspiring to us. That’s not necessarily about the mechanics of occupation; it’s more about the mechanics of learning from each other, and pushing each other, and engaging in a conversation together about what this is all about and where it’s going.”

Martinez was joined by Katherine Demby, the two co-chair Yale Law School’s Alliance for Diversity. While Martinez and Demby told the Crimson they were satisfied and pleased with the response from administration when they led similar movements on their campus last spring, Reclaim Harvard Law members are not nearly as pleased with administrative response.

Last fall, Dean Martha Minow responded to initial demands from Reclaim Harvard Law to increase diversity on the faculty and reconsider the school’s controversial seal. On February 12, she followed-up with a letter to the school community announcing a series of initiatives including hiring a Director for Community Engagement and Equity, releasing a campus-wide climate survey and strengthening diversity training at orientation, among other items.

Reclaim Harvard Law members responded that the initiatives did not address their initial demands.

“I’m excited that this is something that people are thinking about,” third year law student, Rena Karefa-Johnson told the Crimson. “[But] I don’t think those specific initiatives are responsive to what this movement is about.”

Students have held organized events during the day and are sleeping in the student center at night.

Source: Harvard Crimson