Being one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Harvard gets a lot of visitors. This became apparent last Sunday aboard a standing-room-only bus to Harvard Square. Immediately a conversation struck up between two visitors to the US. The tourists, who didn't know each other, shared their enthusiasm about getting to visit the Harvard campus for the first time.
Or so they thought.
Little did they know, they would soon be let down.
Harvard: Now even harder to get into.
Harvard University has closed its gates to outsiders at the disappointment of many tourists and prospective students hoping to visit the campus. On a recent trip to the college we witnessed several hundred visitors, alumni, families, and prospective students turned away.
Gate entrances were either closed and chained shut or were guarded by hired security and Harvard Police ensuring only Harvard students were allowed access to the yard. Only current students and staff were allowed through the gates upon showing their Harvard ID.
Students and Staff Only: A Harvard Police Officer checks for Harvard IDs
We all knew Harvard was hard to get into, but to even step foot in Harvard Yard? Harvard has been denying access to visitors since November 9th in response to the supposed protest going on.
All because of this "protest":
On Wednesday night, November 9th, the university shut down access to Harvard Yard because of the supposed danger several hundred demonstrators posed as part of the Occupy Colleges movement. Students, who had gathered outside the Harvard Law School that night, planned to march into the historic quad.
Harvard executive vice president Katie Lapp and University provost Alan Garber said that even though the administration respects the right of community members to protest, the lockdown would continue as long as the student occupation remains.
Many students and teachers alike have opposed the closing of the gates. “I think it’s absurd. Do we really need eight guards per gate?” questioned Nicandro Iannacci, Class of 2013.
Some Harvard Professors find the lockdown a bit over the top. "It seems to me an overreaction to have closed the Yard to outsiders" says Duncan Kennedy, a professor at the Law School.
I am sure visitors denied access feel the same way:
Some question why access to the yard is not allowed.
WTF: A visitor expresses frustration over Harvard lock down.
Michael Cera settles for a cell phone pic of Harvard from the locked gates.
Over the weekend, Occupy Harvard released a statement on their website condemning the heightened security in the Yard. “The ongoing ID checks and partial gate closures are as unnecessary as they are inconvenient,” the statement read. “Furthermore, the decision to only grant entry to Harvard ID holders has reinforced the institutional exclusivity and elitism that Occupy Harvard seeks to change.”
On Monday, November 21, the protesters announced the success of a petition signed by 110 Harvard professors that condemns the administration locking down Harvard Yard in response to students setting up tents in front of the John Harvard statue.
After witnessing the disappointment of many tourists and prospective students who had traveled great distances to visit the campus only to be turned away, we hope the Harvard administration opens its gates immediately to the public.
Unbeknownst to most visitors, if you really need to get on the Harvard campus you can put in a request ahead of time with the Campus Service Center who may or may not grant you access.