CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Occupy Harvard protesters early next week plan to remove a majority of the tent city set up at one of the country’s most elite universities.
“We are taking down tents,” said Jack Hamilton, a graduate student. “We are unveiling a reconfigured physical presence.”
Hamilton said the occupiers will leave a winterized dome as an “interactive community space.”
Occupiers are calling the change “Occupy 2.0.”
The university’s winter recess begins Dec. 22, and temperatures have dropped below freezing some nights this week.
“This change is not about Christmas break,” said Jeff Bridges, a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School. “This change is about really moving to the next level.”
Harvard University has restricted access to Harvard Yard, a central quad, since before students pitched tents on the night of Sept. 9. Security guards and Harvard Police continued to check for valid university identification at gates to “the Yard” Thursday night.
“Our responsibilities for the safety of the Harvard community compelled us to take measures to ensure that individuals whose intentions were not peaceful could not encamp in Harvard Yard or create an environment of violence and intimidation that would dampen everyone’s freedom,” Harvard President Drew Faust wrote in a statement last month.
It is unclear whether the university will allow unrestricted access to the space when occupiers have only one structure remaining. The closed gates have brought criticism of Occupy Harvard from students, local residents and tourists.
Harvard had no comment Thursday night on the decision of protesters.
The occupiers expect to meet with university officials Monday morning.