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Harvard students, researchers, and professors are planning concurrent Marches for Science the morning of April 22, joining over 400 demonstrations around the world in support of continued role for science in public life.
According to their website, organizers of the March for Science intend for the rallies to “[demonstrate] our passion for science and [sound] a call to support and safeguard the scientific community.” The marches will take place on the Cambridge and Longwood campuses and make their way to Boston Common, where they will join a Boston rally, according to March organizer and Medical School research associate Ashley M. Ciulla.
“Scientists in particular are a group that’s generally very wary of speaking out politically and outside of a strict scientific context,” Ivan Kroupin, a graduate student organizing the Cambridge Campus March, said. “I think what the March for Science is doing is trying to get that going.”
A number of policies enacted under President Donald Trump have impacted Harvard’s researchers and science programs in recent months. At least three Medical School affiliates were barred from entering the United States due to Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven majority Muslim countries. In March, an University spokesperson criticized the White House’s proposed federal budget—which includes deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health—as “unprecedented” and “devastating.”
Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley ’82 will be the keynote speaker at the Longwood rally and Fidencio Saldana, dean of students at the Medical School, is slated to speak as well.
Medical School professor Thomas H. Michel ’77, who said he plans to attend the Longwood March, said he believes the demonstration will highlight “the importance of science in keeping America great.”
Hazar H. Khidir, a Medical School student and organizer of the Longwood March, said that researchers at the schools felt “galvanized” and “motivated” by recent events.
“Our goal is to convey that we are all standing together in solidarity, and that we are engaged and we want to make a statement that these issues matter to us,” she said.
Khidir, who wrote an op-ed in The Crimson in February urging the United States to accept more refugees, said that the mission of the March was to “raise our voice in opposition to the current climate not just towards immigrants, but towards research and science.”
Noah A. Haber, a student organizer at the School of Public Health, said the use of science and evidence in the government is hitting “an all-time-low” and scientists are “pushing back against that dip” as a result.
“Traditionally the scientist is someone who is supposed to stay idle and is very objective,” Haber said. “However, the actions, words, and indications have been so severe that many of us are breaking out of those roles and taking a much more public position.”
Vincent H. Lin ’18, a Molecular and Cellular Biology concentrator and organizer of the Cambridge March, said that the support of undergraduates from Harvard—one of the biggest research centers in the world—is “especially important.”
“I think the March is also a foundation which we can move forward with further advocacy work around science and defending science as a pillar of society,” Lin said. “I think this March is just the beginning of grassroots organizing.”
—Staff writer William L. Wang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @wlwang20.
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