Boston police raided tents on Boston Common early Monday morning and handed out scores of citations for trespassing. A group of more than 200 students, citizens, and clergy gathered Sunday night on the massive green space in front of the Massachusetts State House to draw attention to climate change. The group does the same "sleep-out" every Sunday, but this one caught the attention of the wrong group—the police.
The sleep-outs, led by Harvard University students, are part of the Leadership Campaign, a monthlong, student-led effort to raise awareness of climate change, the Harvard Crimson reports. The outdoors sleeping events are intended to draw attention and decrease electricity use. The group behind the campaign wants Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to introduce a bill that would power Massachusetts with 100 percent renewable energy, the report says.
The citations are adding up at the events.
"We are trespassing . . . and could go to jail," Craig S. Altemose, a joint law and policy degree graduate student at Harvard, tells the Crimson. "But it is a small price to pay for a stable climate that will last 50 to 70 generations if we do this right."
Harvard isn't exactly jumping at the chance to team up with the group. Harvard junior John Beatty tells the Crimson that he's spoken to the Office for Sustainability and Harvard administrators about the campaign but hasn't found them to be receptive.
A student's arrest commonly leads to the university imposing a six-month leave, Beatty says. He is asking the university to make an exception for students arrested in the environmental protests.
"The Handbook for Students is clear about the expectation the faculty has for student behavior and the standards of conduct expected of all Harvard College students," the secretary of Harvard's Administrative Board, John Ellison, said in a statement E-mailed to the Crimson. "If a student violates those standards, the board is charged by the faculty to investigate and respond appropriately."