LIVE UPDATES: Day 3 of Harvard Yard Encampment


The pro-Palestine encampment in Harvard Yard entered its third day on Friday as dozens of student organizers spent another night in more than 30 tents in front of the John Harvard statue and University Hall.

College administrators, including Dean of Students Thomas Dunne and Associate Dean of Students Lauren E. Brandt ’01 returned to the encampment on Friday morning to photograph or note the ID numbers of students who remained there.

It is yet another indication that the College is ramping up to take disciplinary action against the protesters, after Dunne sent an email Thursday afternoon informing them that the encampment went against University policy and threatening disciplinary action.



But The Crimson reported Wednesday, when the encampment was first erected, that some groups of the protesters were prepared to face disciplinary sanctions in front of the Administrative Board or even be arrested, as students have been at encampments at Yale University, Columbia University, and Emerson College.

Interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 said on Monday that he had a “very, very high bar” for involving the police to break up a student demonstration, but it remains unclear how Harvard plans to get organizers to dismantle the encampment.

Organizers said on Wednesday that they plan to remain at the demonstration until Harvard meets their demands, which include divestment from institutional and financial ties to Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and the war in Gaza. The University has repeatedly rebuffed those demands.

Protesters also demanded Harvard drop the disciplinary actions imposed on students engaged in pro-Palestine activism on campus following the College’s suspension of the Palestine Solidarity Committee on Monday.

The encampment at Harvard comes amid a nationwide surge of similar demonstrations across college and university campuses, including Columbia, Yale, and MIT. Many protests and encampments have led to widespread student arrest.

Harvard spokesperson Jason A. Newton wrote that the University is “closely monitoring the situation and are prioritizing the safety and security of the campus community” in a Wednesday statement.


Chabad Rabbi Calls for ‘Urgent Action’ — 7:33 p.m.

Harvard Chabad Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi called for “urgent action” from Harvard to address the encampment.

“As we prepare to welcome in Shabbat in Passover — the ‘Season of Our Liberation’ — we are continuing to receive reports from students and parents about how violated they feel by what’s going on in Harvard Yard,” Zarchi wrote in an post to the Chabad Instagram account Friday evening.

He said that freshmen who live in the Yard had trouble studying for final exams due to “hateful chants outside their homes.”

Zarchi concluded his statement with a reminder of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attacks and wrote that “we pray for wisdom, courageous and strong leadership, and the well-being of all.”

Shabbat Service at Encampment Ends — 7:23 p.m.

As the rounds of songs concluded, organizers began passing around grape juice and matzo, an unleavened bread traditionally eaten for Passover, just before 7 p.m. The group of protesters, which included both Jewish and non-Jewish affiliates, remained seated in a circular formation on the grass by the encampment.

An organizer lit candles and began to lead the group in singing Shabbat blessings. The group read aloud translations of the blessings and prayers.

A volunteer Jewish affiliate from the group then read a sermon calling for liberation in Palestine.

“May all the water in Palestine be liberated,” he read. “May we liberate all our water together, from the river to the sea.”

The group blessed the bread and an organizer read a section of the Torah, before the group dispersed for dinner.

The encampment’s Shabbat service, which lasted more than 30 minutes, comes on the fourth day of Passover.

Shabbat Service Begins — 6:02 p.m.

On the lawn north of the encampment, more than 60 people gathered in a circle for a Shabbat service. An organizer led attendees — many wearing keffiyehs, some wearing yarmulkes, several wearing hijabs — in a Yiddish song, then a protest song in English.

“Together, we are strong,” the circle sang as two organizers strummed guitars.

In front of the song leaders, a sign read, “Shabbat Shalom from the Liberated Zone.”

Encampment Expands — 5:47 p.m.

Student protesters set up five new tents on a stretch of lawn just south of the main encampment, raising the total count to at least 40 tents.


North of the encampment, students — many wearing keffiyehs — are sitting on picnic blankets and in lawn chairs. Some are studying on laptops. In front of the John Harvard statue, protesters distributed and posed for photos with copies of The Crimson’s Friday print issue.

“Disclose, divest! We will not stop, we will not rest!” they shouted, waving the paper in the air.


Harvard Faculty Weigh In — 5:17 p.m.

As students demonstrate in Harvard Yard, faculty have been watching and weighing in. Some showed up to observe student protesters while others have issued harsh critiques on X.

History professor Maya R. Jasanoff ’96, Government professor Steven Levitsky, Classics professor Richard F. Thomas, Government professor Ryan D. Enos, and History professor Walter Johnson all stood outside a circle of students near the John Harvard statue — observing but not participating in their chants and songs. The group Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine — of which Thomas is a member and from which Johnson resigned — has issued also a statement in support of the encampment and a separate statement condemning the PSC’s suspension.


Jasanoff said she brought bananas and oranges to students in the encampment.

Harvard Kennedy School lecturer Francis X. Hartmann said he visited the encampment to see what the atmosphere of the protest was like and whether anyone was being hurt. So far, he said, the encampment seemed “absolutely peaceful.”

Meanwhile, Harvard Law School professor Stephen E. Sachs ’02 — a former Crimson Editorial Chair — criticized the encampment in a series of posts on X. In one post, he wrote that “the University doesn’t have to allow this,” referencing a photo of a keffiyeh and a Palestinian flag draped over the John Harvard statue.

Protesters Sing, Perform — 4:51 p.m.

Protesters chant and sing — with one performing an original song about the war in Gaza — as protesters and passersby stand in a circle around the John Harvard Statue. A group of protesters plays drums and other forms of percussion in front of the statue.


Summers Slams Corporation Response to Encampment — 4:23 p.m.

In a Friday afternoon post on X, former University President Lawrence H. Summers criticized the encampment and blasted “the Harvard Corporation’s failure to effectively address issues of prejudice and breakdowns of order.”

“I think it is a profound failure that Harvard Yard continues to be occupied in clear violation of university policies and rules,” Summers wrote. “There can be no question that Harvard is practicing an ongoing double standard on discrimination between racism, misogyny and anti-semitism.”

Notably, Summers avoided direct criticism of Garber in his statement, instead focusing on the Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing body.

Summers’ statement marks his latest public foray into controversy at Harvard.

In January, Summers slammed the appointment of Derek J. Penslar to lead the University’s task force on antisemitism. In the wake of the Hamas’ attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, he criticized then-President Claudine Gay’s response — breaking an unspoken rule among former University presidents to avoid public criticism of the incumbent.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley Arrives — 4:15 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Ayanna S. Pressley (D-Mass.) visited the encampment and spoke with organizers there.


Protesters placed a speaker between the feet of the John Harvard statue, playing songs like “Long Live Palestine, Part 2” by Lowkey. A crowd of more than 100 has formed in front of University Hall, next to which Pressley is still speaking with students and encampment organizers.

Pressley said in an interview with The Crimson that she visited the encampment to show support for protesters, calling conversations with students “raw.”

“I’m doing everything that I can to ensure that there aren’t consequences, and doing everything that I can to ensure that people feel safe — safe in their activism, which is a tenet to our democracy and a constitutional right,” Pressley said.

When asked about potential suspension and disciplinary action for student protesters, she said, “I’m doing everything I can to ensure that it doesn’t get to that.”

Pressley said she met with interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76, adding that she is “regularly in communication” with presidents in higher education. Pressley declined to comment on his administration or its response to the encampment.

Non-Affiliate Presence in Harvard Yard — 4:10 p.m.

While various reporters have entered the yard throughout the morning, HUPD spokesperson Steven G. Catalano said that the policy restricting the Yard to University affiliates remains in place.

Still, some entrances to the Yard have been unmanned for periods during the middle of the night. Jeremy Siegel — a reporter at GBH — was escorted out of the Yard after entering around 5:30 a.m.

Though a non-Harvard affiliate tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday that they are “proud to join student organizers” at the encampment, protesters confirmed that everyone participating in the encampment is a Harvard affiliate.

HUPD Chief Victor Clay said that Securitas guards are stationed at the gates and have “24/7” responsibility for patrolling the entrances to the yard.

“Of course, this is a human-being driven business, so there will be breakdowns occasionally,” he said.


However, Clay added that following the Oct. 7 attacks, HUPD has increased their presence on campus and are available to aid Securitas at Yard entrances.

“We’ve increased our patrols around the campus, that we stay mobile, and we walk those areas, we drive those areas. So if Securitas needs support, we will support them,” he said.

While Clay didn’t confirm that non-affiliates entered the yard, he emphasized that it was an early priority for administration in witnessing protests on other campuses that the yard remain restricted to Harvard ID holders only.

Protesters Briefly March — 3:15 p.m.

After Friday prayers concluded, dozens of organizers marched one lap around Harvard Yard. Organizers used microphones and speakers to lead group chants: “disclose, divest, we will not stop we will not rest,” “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “hey hey, ho ho, the occupation has got to go.”

Protesters then began bringing nearly a dozen cinder blocks into the encampment.


Lawnmower Appears During Friday Prayers — 2:11 p.m.

At least 150 worshippers gathered in Harvard Yard to pray the jum’a, or Friday, prayer. Twenty six individuals held up keffiyehs on two sides of the congregation, obstructing passerby view of the worshippers.

Midway through the prayer, a lawnmower drove around University Hall and the John Harvard statue, roaring over the sermon and making it inaudible for those at a slight distance. A protester spoke to the worker operating the lawnmower, who then left the area.

Worshipers appeared to be frustrated by the incident.

“We’re not going to be silenced by their choice to mow a lawn,” the prayer leader said to the group.

The sermon leader spoke about the encampment and the administration’s response, referencing recent incidents of violence at similar demonstrations at Emerson College and Emory University.

“We have lovely institutions like this that call themselves beacons of progressivism and yet have been nothing but deeply reactionary and violent in the world in so many ways,” the leader said.

He added that protesters should consider themselves “on the right side of history.”

“All of the sudden they can be heroes after a couple decades. That’s what they’re going to do to you all,” he said. “That’s what they’re going to do with these encampments, they’re gonna look back and be like ‘oh yeah, the anti-war movement! That was on my campus too,’ when they were standing side-by-side with the institution attacking us violently.”

Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana also made an appearance, walking around University Hall as the prayers began. Khurana declined to comment on the third day’s events.


Friday Midday Prayer Begins — 1:35 p.m

More than 100 students and onlookers gathered under tents and on the grass adjacent to the encampment for a “jum’a,” or Friday, prayer. It began with a call to prayer known as “adhan.”

Protesters held up keffiyehs around those participating in the prayer to protect the identities of students.

Faculty, Staff Show Support for Protesters — 1:28 p.m.

There is a faculty and staff tent at the encampment organized by Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine. Members of the newly-formed group have been attending the protest in four-hour shifts, including overnight, according to Harvard Medical School lecturer Aaron D.A. Shakow. Shakow said he was on an 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. shift on Thursday.

“I think we feel both a sense of horror at the suffering in Gaza and a sense of hope that young people are putting themselves on the line to say that this crime against humanity is not acceptable, and they’re not willing to participate in it with their tuition dollars,” Shakow wrote in a statement to The Crimson.

“The defense of Palestinian lives is all of our fight but they’re fighting it,” he wrote. “We feel we need to support them however we can.”

Keffiyeh Replaced — 11:22 a.m.

Under a cloudless blue sky, organizers called out “morning meeting!” while “Maps” by Maroon 5 played from a portable speaker. During the meeting, organizers gathered in a circle and sang.

Protesters also returned the keffiyeh to the John Harvard statue, which Dunne had removed earlier after asking students to also remove the Palestinian flag that had been draped over the statue. Protesters had asked Dunne to take the keffiyeh down himself.

Dunne Removes Keffiyeh, Khurana Watches — 10:25 a.m.

Dean Dunne uses a pole to take down the keffiyeh from the John Harvard statue to loud chants of “shame!” from protesters.


Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana also watched the encampment at a distance as protesters chanted at him.

“Dean Khurana you can’t hide, you are funding genocide,” the students said.

Protesters began reading a statement over a megaphone as Khurana walked away toward the back entrance of University Hall, where his office is located.


Administrators Return to Encampment — 10:02 a.m.

As College Dean of Students Thomas Dunne arrived on the scene once again Friday morning, he said protesters will have the option of having their ID photographed or their name recorded.

According to a College administrator, protesters disputed the administration’s ability to photograph IDs or write down ID numbers, citing a lack of language about taking photos of IDs in the Harvard College student handbook.

The handbook states that student protesters must present IDs upon request, and that “surrendered ID cards will be transmitted immediately” to appropriate administrators.

A safety marshal at the encampment invited Dunne to come to the fence of the encampment to examine the IDs of campers who remained.

Protesters lined up along the encampment’s border facing John Harvard chanting and clapping as three administrators, including Dunne and Associate Dean of Students Lauren E. Brandt ’01, walked down the line examining IDs, either taking photos or noting down ID numbers.

After speaking with Dunne, security marshals removed a Palestinian flag draped over the John Harvard statue. Dunne also asked that they remove the keffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian scarf, from the statue.

Earlier, interim Provost John F. Manning ’82 walked into Massachusetts Hall to start his day.

Correction: April 26, 2024

A previous version of this live blog incorrectly stated that interim Provost John F. Manning ’82 was escorted by a Harvard University police officer when he walked into Massachusetts Hall Friday morning. In fact, the officer and Manning just happened to be walking next to each other.

—Staff writers Michelle N. Amponsah, Sunshine (Xinni) Chen, Sally E. Edwards, Elyse C. Goncalves, Rahem D. Hamid, S. Mac Healey, Matan H. Josephy, Joyce E. Kim, Darcy G Lin, Azusa M. Lippit, William C. Mao, Asher J. Montgomery, Madeline E. Proctor, Akshaya Ravi, Tilly R. Robinson, Elias J. Schisgall, Emily T. Schwartz, Neil H. Shah, Laurel M. Shugart, and Claire Yuan contributed reporting.