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HUD 3632

Occupy Harvard (Movement). Occupy Harvard Collection : an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUD 3632
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Occupy Harvard (Movement)
Title: Occupy Harvard Collection
Date(s): 2011-2012
Quantity: 1 collection (0.22 cubic feet (1 half document box, 1 16 mm box, and 1 oversized folder of analog materials and approximately 5 gigabytes of digital content)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: This collection documents the activities of the student protest movement Occupy Harvard which erected 30 tents in Harvard Yard on November 9, 2011, thus becoming a visible part of the worldwide Occupy Movement. Occupy Harvard is one of many college and univerisity organizations established on the pattern of the Wall Street protest. Occupy Harvard protested against inequality within Harvard University and local and national economic conditions.

Acquisition Information:

  • Accession 18493, May 18, 2012 Poster, pins, and other analog content donated by Occupy Harvard through Public Relations Director Devin Korman.
  • Accession 18585, November 2, 2012 website (occupyharvard.tumblr.com)
  • Accession 18586, November 2, 2012 website (OccupyHarvard.net)
  • Accession 18615, January 7, 2013 online petition ("I support...")
  • Accession 18616, January 7, 2013 online petition ("Students demand no layoffs...")
  • Accession 19602, October 24, 2014 "Corruptio optima pessima" button
  • Accession 2016.059, December 17, 2015 Occupy Harvard Rally flyer, November 9, 2011
  • Processing Information:

    Archivists formed a documentation plan, surveyed all donated materials in the collection, and gathered digital content through web harvests and downloads. Analog items were rehoused in archival containers and digital items were stored in a digital preservation repository. This inventory combines descriptions of both analog and digital holdings and provides container references for analog holdings and links to the online content.
    The archivist provided descriptive titles for all collection components. Titles borne by some items were used when appropriate, but most titles were devised by archivists.
    This finding aid was initially created in the Archivists' Toolkit by Amanda Strauss in July 2012 and later edited by Harvard University Archives' staff.

    Historical Information


    Historical Note

    Occupy Harvard is a student movement established in the fall of 2011. It began with a Twitter handle, @Occupy_Harvard, and a website on October 8, followed by a walk-out of Economics 10, Principles of Economics in support of the Occupy movement on November 2, 2011, and the establishment of a tent encampment in Harvard Yard on November 9.
    A consensus-driven movement, Occupy Harvard did not name official leaders, though its support was greater among graduate students than among undergraduates. It was affiliated with the global Occupy movement, which began on September 17, 2011 when the Occupy Wall Street camp was established in New York City's financial district. Occupy Harvard's strongest local alliance was with Occupy Boston, which was established on September 30, 2011 in Boston's financial district. Occupy Harvard also allied itself with other local student-led Occupy groups.
    Occupy Harvard followed other student protests at Harvard University, notably two weeks of student strikes and riots in 1969 sparked by objections to the Vietnam War, a student takeover of Massachusetts Hall in 1972 to protest University financial investments, and another takeover in 2001 in support of the Living Wage Campaign.
    The inception of Occupy Harvard was marked by a rally, General Assembly, and march on November 9 that were attended by approximately 800 Harvard students, faculty, and staff. In response to these events, Harvard University locked the gates surrounding Harvard Yard, allowing access only to those who held a Harvard University identification card. The gate closure was the beginning of an ongoing conflict between the Occupy Harvard students and Harvard University administration. The gates to Harvard Yard remained locked until December 22, 2011.
    During this time, Occupy Harvard began publishing its newspaper The Occupy Harvard Crimson and its encampment was addressed by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ahmed Maher, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, and Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar.
    Although Occupy Harvard produced traditional flyers, posters, and publications, the bulk of Occupy Harvard's communication was through social and web media. Below is a list of Occupy Harvard web and social media outlets.
    On December 19, 2011, forty-one days after the tents were erected, the students initiated "Occupy Harvard 2.0" by replacing the tents with a geodesic dome provided by students at MIT that became known as "The Dome." It contained a library, The People's Widener, along with informational literature such as The Occupy Harvard Crimson, which contained news and editorials, and was intended to serve as a community space and a visual symbol of Occupy Harvard. The dome became a site of conflict when Harvard University officials removed it on January 13, 2012 citing safety concerns. Students affiliated with Occupy Harvard alleged that the University was preventing free speech.
    On February 12, 2012, Occupy Harvard hosted an Occupy Boston Student Summit, which was attended by students from Berklee College of Music, Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Bridgewater State University, Emerson College, Lesley University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Salem State University, Simmons College, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Massachusetts-Boston, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and the University of Vermont. According to the Occupy Harvard website, the goal of the summit was "to strengthen relationships and exchange ideas among students who have been or want to be involved with the #Occupy movement."
    Occupy Harvard's Statement of Principles names "the corporatization of higher education" as its primary concern, stating on the banner of its first website, "We want a university for the 99%, not a corporation for the 1%." Occupy Harvard became involved in various labor disputes at Harvard University including labor contract negotiations for janitorial workers, and the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers' assertion that a disabled Harvard Science Center mail room employee was receiving discriminatory treatment. One of Occupy Harvard's more visible demonstrations took place from February 12 to February 17, 2012 when students occupied the Lamont Library café to protest the reorganization of Harvard's libraries. During this five-day demonstration, Occupy Harvard held informal discussions known as Think Tanks, film screenings, conversations with library staff about the reorganization, and nonviolence training. On May 1, 2012, Occupy Harvard participated in a worldwide General Strike, rallying at the John Harvard statue in Harvard Yard. It also demonstrated in the No Layoffs Campaign with the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers during Harvard University's Commencement on May 24, 2012.


    This collection is arranged in two series:

    Scope and Content

    This collection documents the activities of the student protest movement Occupy Harvard through analog items donated to the Harvard University Archives and digital content collected by the Harvard University Archives. It provides insight into the history of student protest movements at Harvard University, the culture of Occupy Harvard, and the role of college and university students in the global Occupy movement.
    Contents consist primarily of websites, social media, flyers and publications including the newspaper Occupy Harvard Crimson and the satirical "Harvard University Courses of Instruction Spring 2012 Supplement." Also included is a small quantity of memorabilia including Occupy Harvard pins.

    Inventory update

    This document last updated 2017 July 31.

    Container List