I write to let you know that the University will undertake a special review to consider how best to assure the strongest possible relations and mutual understanding between the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) and Harvard’s highly diverse community. The review will include consideration of HUPD’s diversity training, community outreach, and recruitment efforts, as well as the ways in which Harvard’s past experience as well as best practices elsewhere can help inform our future practice. All of us share an interest in sustaining constructive relations between our campus police and the broader Harvard community in order to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all faculty, students, staff, and visitors.
The review is being launched partly in response to concerns expressed internally, including some arising in light of an incident earlier this month. In that incident, HUPD officers, responding to a call, confronted a person using tools to remove a lock from a locked bicycle. It was later established that the person was working on the Harvard campus for the summer, owned the bicycle, and was trying to cut the lock because the key had broken off in that lock. The University and HUPD have undertaken an investigation of the interaction between the officers and the individual, which remains in progress.
As the inquiry into the specific incident proceeds, I have asked Ralph Martin, former Suffolk County district attorney and currently the managing partner of the Boston office of the law firm Bingham McCutchen, to lead the broader, forward-looking review. Mr. Martin will chair a committee consisting of William Lee, former Harvard Overseer and co-managing partner of Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale, and Dorr; Mark Moore, the Hauser Professor of Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard Kennedy School; Nancy Rosenblum, the Senator Joseph S. Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government, Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Matthew Sundquist, president of the Harvard Undergraduate Council; and David Wilkins, Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School. The committee will present its report to Provost Steven Hyman and Executive Vice President Ed Forst.
I am confident that this group’s efforts will help the University address this important set of issues in a constructive spirit and forthright manner.
Please feel free to share this letter with interested others.
– Drew Gilpin Faust