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More than 100 gather in Harvard Yard to protest Kavanaugh nomination

Protesters gathered Thursday evening near the statue of John Harvard.
Protesters gathered Thursday evening near the statue of John Harvard. (Jackson Cote/for the Boston Globe)

Chanting, “No justice, No seat,” and toting signs saying, “KAVA-NOPE,” over 100 people gathered in Harvard Yard in Cambridge Thursday evening to protest the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.

“What’s going on with this country is really dark,” Pargol Borojerdi said, speaking from the steps of University Hall, near the statue of founder John Harvard. “It’s that sadness ... that gives us the grace to continue.”

Borojerdi, who works at Ariadne Labs in Boston, said the climate for women is worse “than it’s ever been” in US history. “I think we’re in for a lot of suffering,” she said.

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The FBI has completed its investigation into allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford while they were teenagers in Maryland, and that he exposed himself to Deborah Ramirez, a fellow student at Yale College.

Senate Republican leaders on Thursday said the FBI investigation found no corroboration for the allegations and that the Senate could vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination this weekend.

But Harvard protesters made clear they don’t think Kavanaugh, a federal judge since 2006, is fit to serve on the nation’s highest court.

They carried signs saying, “Survivors are not a special interest,” “Believe, support & empower survivors,” and “If we want abusers to change, we will have to require them to give up the luxury of exploitation.”

The protest, which lasted about 45 minutes, was one of several held at universities across the country organized by the International Women’s Strike USA, a nonprofit activist group founded last year. It was held just days after Harvard Law School announced would not return in January to teach a previously scheduled course.

Sasha Scott, an organizer from the Harvard International Socialists, said the demonstration was held “to tell the Senate not to confirm Kavanaugh” and “to tell survivors we believe them.”

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“As a survivor of sexual assault,” Scott said, it’s important “to send a message that if you speak out, you will be believed.”

Scott started multiple chants to show support for survivors, including, “Our stories are true. We say, ‘Me too!’” and “However we dress, wherever we go, yes means yes, no means no.”

Joe Pinto, a second-year graduate student at the Harvard Divinity School, told demonstrators that campus organizations, including the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign and Queer Rites, “stand in solidarity” with them.

Kavanaugh cannot “stand on the Supreme Court,” Pinto said.

He called Ford’s testimony before the Senate last week, regarding her sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh, “incredibly brave,” while Kavanaugh’s testimony was “whiney” and “petulant.”

“I think it’s compelling how 1,200 law professors have written an open letter, saying [Kavanaugh] fundamentally lacks a judicial temperament,” Pinto said.

Emerson College graduate Tori Bilcik, who helped organize Monday’s vigil at City Hall Plaza, said, “It’s important to have events like this ... that are community-oriented.”

“These news cycle are very hard,” said Bilcik, who identified herself as survivor of sexual assault. “It’s important to turn that anger and that sadness into action.”


Jackson Cote can be reached at jackson.cote@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jackson_k_cote.