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Occupy Harvard? Students Protest Course Of Romney Advisor Gregory Mankiw

Harvard University students and demonstrators from Occupy Boston protested outside of Gregory Mankiw's economics course. (Adam Ragusea/WBUR)

Harvard University students and demonstrators from Occupy Boston protested outside of Gregory Mankiw's economics course. (Adam Ragusea/WBUR)

It’s a long hike from the mud-caked tents of Dewey Square to the polished wood and stained glass of Harvard University’s Memorial Hall, but on Tuesday, Occupy Boston came to campus.

And they brought their Occupy-style call-and-response.

“Oh my god, this is a lot of people,” organizer Rachel Sandalow-Ash said.
“Oh my god, this is a lot of people,” the group repeated.
“This is very exciting.”
“This is very exciting.”

About 50 students and Occupy supporters walked out of the introductory economics class taught by professor Gregory Mankiw, a conservative economist who serves as an advisor to presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President George W. Bush.

“This course will influence Harvard graduates.”
“This course will influence Harvard graduates.”

“Harvard students have been complicit,”
“Harvard students have been complicit,”
“Have aided,”
“Have aided,”
“Many of the worst injustices in recent years.”
“Many of the worst injustices in recent years.”

“Harvard students will not do that anymore.”
“Harvard students will not do that anymore.”

The bulk of the protesters’ classmates stuck around to hear Mankiw’s lecture, which happened to be on the subject of income inequality — an irony the economist noted on his widely-read blog. “I am sorry the protesters will miss it,” he wrote.

Harvard freshmen and walkout organizers Sandalow-Ash and Gabriel Bayard said Mankiw teaches economics with a conservative bent.

“Professor Mankiw says that the minimum wage causes unemployment when empirical studies have proven this not to be true in many cases. Professor Mankiw says rent control causes racial discrimination,” Sandalow-Ash said.

“Mankiw associates equity in the economic system to efficiency, which definitely isn’t necessarily true,” Bayard said.

“He also does not talk at all about the 2008 collapse,” Sandalow-Ash said, to which Baynard added: “He mentions it, but he doesn’t mention his complicity in it.”

Mankiw declined to be interviewed on Radio Boston, though he told the Harvard Crimson that his class teaches “mainstream economics,” the goal of which, he said, “is to help people evaluate the inevitable tradeoffs that public policy entails.”

The students who walked-out proceeded to the Occupy Boston encampment across the river, where they brought winter-weather donations for the demonstrators.

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