Magazine article The Nation

Unfair Harvard

Magazine article The Nation

Unfair Harvard

Article excerpt

When Harvard employees rallied for a $10.25-an-hour minimum wage in early May, backers packed the Yard. Credit the Progressive Student Labor Movement's Living Wage Campaign with a fine job of publicizing the rally. But there's no denying that the appearance of actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon helped draw a crowd. These were not your usual celebrities flying in to lend their star power to the cause, however. Affleck's father was a janitor, and his stepmother was a cleaning woman, at Harvard, so he had some personal authority when he called for making "this school a place where you don't have to avert your eyes in shame when you encounter a janitor in the hallway." Damon, who played the genius janitor (at MIT) in Good Will Hunting, spoke as a former Harvard student: "This is the richest university in the world, and the fact that the people who keep the machine running--who feed the students, look out for their safety and clean their bathrooms and hallways--are not given a living wage is demeaning to us all. …

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