In Photos: Protesters for Harvard Ethnic Studies Department Disrupt President Gay’s Ice Cream Social

Demonstrators rallying in support of creating an ethnic studies department at Harvard disrupted an ice cream social in Harvard Yard hosted Tuesday afternoon by University President Claudine Gay.


The Harvard Yard event was part of a trio of ice cream socials around the University’s campus on Tuesday, marking the beginning of Gay's tenure as president.


After stops at the Harvard Medical School's Countway Library and the Business School's Schwartz Pavillion, Gay greeted Harvard affiliates in the Yard, chatting and taking photos.



Above, Gay poses for a photo taken by her chief of staff, Katherine O'Dair. O'Dair previously served as Harvard's University Marshal and Dean of Students.


Above, nine student demonstrators gather on the steps of University Hall, holding signs and chanting, “Hey, President Gay! We need ethnic studies today!”


The demonstrators spoke with Gay, who affirmed her support for ethnic studies but told demonstrators that creating an ethnic studies department would require faculty support.


On the right, Aaryan K. Rawal ’26 listens to Gay. In an interview, Rawal said he found it “disappointing” that Harvard had not listened to “51 years of student concerns.”

Rawal added that it is “more important than ever” that the University creates an ethnic studies concentration, given the June 29 Supreme Court ruling that declared Harvard’s race-conscious admissions policies unconstitutional.


After the event, Gay entered Massachusetts Hall, where her new office is located. Student demonstrators went to Grays Hall, where they hung a banner from a third-floor window that read, "What do we want? Ethnic Studies. When do we want it? Now!"