Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has campaigned as a champion of the working class, but she failed to stand up for low-income Harvard employees facing layoffs, a former Harvard library assistant says.

In 2009, Harvard terminated nearly 300 employees citing the university endowment falling to only $26 billion. While high-earning law school professors such as Warren were unaffected by the layoffs, many administrative and clerical staffers earning more modest wages faced termination. The announcement led one employee to collect petition signatures asking top earners at the law school to take temporary salary reductions. Warren remained silent, according to Stephen Helfer, who spearheaded the petition drive.

"Elizabeth Warren certainly did not stand up for Harvard staff," he said.

The Warren campaign did not respond to request for comment.

Helfer spent 22 years as a law school library assistant at Harvard. When positions similar to his faced layoffs, he took issue with the salaries of employees such as Warren and then-president Drew Faust. Warren was paid nearly $350,000 to teach at Harvard in 2009, while Faust raked in more than $775,000 in pay, benefits, and expenses during the 2007/2008 school year.