May 9, 2001

Harvard, students reach labor sit-in settlement

By The Associated Press

BOSTON -- Harvard University students ended a three-week sit-in to demand a minimum "living wage" for all Harvard workers Tuesday after reaching an agreement with the administration.

The students, who had the support of organized labor and members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, wanted the university to pay all its employees at least dlrs 10.25 an hour, the same minimum wage paid by the city of Cambridge. The students had refused to leave Massachusetts Hall since April 18.

The settlement includes the creation of a 20-member committee that will make recommendations on the university's policies and employment practices for lower-paid workers.

As two dozen protesters left the administration building, students waiting outside handed them long-stemmed red roses. About 300 people rallied on Harvard Yard, with student leaders calling the settlement a victory.

"For some time now, Harvard's dignity has been in question ... and by affiliation, my dignity and all of our dignity was in question," said Greg Halpern, one of the students who occupied the administration building.

Harvard President Neil Rudenstine said the committee will meet at least once before the end of commencement week in early June and begin more extensive deliberations once the fall term begins.

"As a socially responsible institution, Harvard is committed to employment practices that reflect a humane and principled concern for the well-being of all individuals who work here," Rudenstine said in a prepared statement.