April 24, 2001

Kennedy, Rudenstine discuss protest

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Edward Kennedy and Harvard President Neil Rudenstine spoke in person Tuesday about the student protest seeking higher wages for blue-collar university employees.

Both attended a Capitol Hill reception for members of Congress who are Harvard alumni.

"He reiterated his strong support of a living wage for the employees and the contract workers at Harvard University," Kennedy spokesman Will Keyser said.

They also had a telephone conversation over the weekend. Kennedy urged Rudenstine to negotiate with students, Keyser said.

The protest entered its second week Tuesday. Students are occupying Rudenstine's office demanding the university pay a minimum "living wage" of $10.25 per hour to all of its employees.

Kennedy made a surprise visit Friday night to protesters to endorse their cause. On Saturday, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich spoke at a student rally in Harvard Yard.

Harvard officials say they won't negotiate as long as students are occupying buildings. A spokesman did not immediately return a call to comment on Tuesday's discussion between Kennedy and Rudenstine.

Rudenstine is set to step down in June and is to be succeeded by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers.