The nation's elite universities have historically nurtured both the social movements that challenge the status quo and the upper crust that maintains it, and the occupy movement is the latest to highlight that contradiction.
With huge annual tuitions, multibillion-dollar endowments and long lists of powerful graduates working on Wall Street and in Washington, such schools embody the kind of institutions the occupy movement — with its opposition to undue influence by those in the top tiers of society — was born to protest. Yet their students are joining in.
Members of elite institutions are in a unique position to change them, said Rossen Djagalov, a teaching assistant in history and literature at Harvard University, which costs around $50,000 a year to attend.
"We just want this university to be a better citizen, whether that's in Cambridge or the whole country, in which Harvard graduates are such prominent people," Djagalov said.