Harvard shutters police substation because students felt ‘watched,’ complained it’s ‘not a pleasant feeling’

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Harvard University has apparently adopted an evict the police philosophy.

Its student-run news outlet, the Harvard Crimson, reports that a longtime campus police substation located at a residence hall has been shuttered because of its alleged intimidating effects on students.

“The decision to close the Mather House substation was made last week in response to concerns raised by Mather House staff and students as well as the amount of use of the substation by officers and community members,” a Harvard University police department spokesperson explained.

According to one student quoted in the article, “I am well aware that the police are not there to keep me actively safe. Having a police car sitting outside of Mather every night — which it does — doesn’t bring me any sense of safety. Instead, it implies that we’re being watched and policed, which is not a pleasant feeling.”

One bone of contention at the prestigious Ivy League bastion apparently was that armed officers regularly took their meals at the Mather dining hall, thereby making students “uncomfortable.”

Cops already had to go elsewhere for their lunch or dinner breaks after the practice was banned as of the fall 2021 semester.

Another student who lives in the dorm claimed that “The real effect that the presence of the HUPD substation has on the Mather community is simply a violent, visual intimidation tactic that students are forced to see every time they enter the house.”

The article quotes a third Mather resident who described the decision to close the 17-year-old substation a good first step, but in the end, the solution is to “abolish” the Harvard PD altogether.

The four (now three) substations were originally set up, in part, to advance community outreach. The Mather substation was the only one that was on site at a facility that houses undergraduates at Harvard, however.

According to the campus police crime dashboard which apparently has not been updated since June 2021, the department receives on average nearly 7,700 calls for service each year (or about 21 per day) from students, faculty, staff, and others, most of which involve alarms going off.

The Harvard credential is typically a gateway to top-level jobs in academia, law, politics, or in the corporate media. Tuition alone is about $68,000 per year for those who aren’t on a scholarship.

One comment posted underneath the Harvard article implied that activists aren’t representative of the student body at the elite, generally leftist, Cambridge, Mass-based college:

“The students interviewed for this Crimson piece don’t appear to reflect the views held by most undergrads (including people of color) who’ve had firsthand experiences HUPD. The views appear to be based on hearsay and generalizations about police.”

Here is a sampling of what some social media users are thinking about the decision:


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