Notes and Errata

Due in part to apparent misperceptions or misrepresentations of events by authoritative sources, the conflict between Harvard University’s management and its security guards has been difficult for newswriters to investigate adequately.  One reasonably good source of information is May Habib, Guards Say Union Sold Them Out, Harv. Crimson, Apr. 7, 2004,, read in conjunction with This Week’s Corrections, Harv. Crimson, Apr. 16, 2004, item 6.

Cf. Joe Mathews, Rudenstine Named in Lawsuit by Guard, Harv. Crimson, Oct. 28, 1993,

   [On Oct. 13, 1992], after eight former and current employees of the security unit came forward to allege they were harassed on the job and discriminated against by their superiors, [President] Rudenstine ordered an investigation of the guards’ charges.
   The result of the investigation, published in July by Vice President [for Police & Security] and General Counsel Margaret H. Marshall, denied the employees’ charges, and blamed problems in the unit on an active steward in the security guard union, the student press and poor management. (¶¶ 12-13)

The university eventually paid $1.2 million in damages to one of the employees.  Abramian v. Harvard Coll., Middlesex Superior Ct. (Sept. 5, 1997).

Reviewing a perceptive article by Kathy Gilsinan, Harvard Security Lapses Blamed in String of Sexual Assaults, Colum. Spectator (New York), Feb. 24, 2002, News/Harvard.Security.Lapses.Blamed.In.String.Of.Sexual.Assaults-2034717
.shtml, we noticed that supplementary information might be helpful to students unfamiliar with Harvard or Columbia.

As soon as [students] step off the campus [at Harvard], they become invisible to security. (¶ 10)

At Harvard University’s Longwood Medical campus, all of the guard stations face the building interiors.  The security guards watch people who are inside the building, not outside.  An average of 78 violent crimes a year are reported at the Longwood campus; almost all occurred on the immediately adjacent streets, sidewalks, or parking facilities.

Compare Boston University’s medical campus, where guard stations face the streets and sidewalks.  An average of 2 violent crimes a year are reported at that campus.

Whatever factors are responsible for the lower rate of reported crime, a lower rate of crime reporting is not one of them.  To the contrary, Boston University received the 1996 Jeanne Clery Campus Safety Award: “The administration at Boston University has demonstrated leadership through honestly assessing campus crime problems and candidly informing its customers (students and parents) of the situation.  The result is that informed students take precautions and campus security performs deliberately.”  Security On Campus, Inc., Jeanne Clery Campus Safety Award Recipients for 1996 (2001),

3 Jan. 2007.  Stalcommpol Inc.  Ed. J. Herms.
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