As a result of the Boston Police Force's ballot of 1,134 to 2 in favor of a sympathetic strike to take effect on September 9, a call was almost immediately sent out to the citizens of the Commonwealth to aid in the protection of the city in the event of possible rioting or disorder. In the case of the University, this summons was made known to the college authorities through Louis A. Frothingham '93, representing the volunteer police force, who inquired what the College could do to meet the situation.
In reply President Lowell issued the following appeal to the members of the University and an Emergency Committee consisting of Dean Greenough, Assistant Deans Murdock and Gay, E. A. Whitney '17, D. M. Little '18 and G. A. Brownell '19 was formed:
"In accordance with its tradition of public service the University desires in a time of crisis to help in any way that it can to maintain order and support the laws of the Commonwealth. I therefore urge all students who can do so to prepare themselves for such service as the Governor of the Commonwealth may call upon them to render." The President also gave out a later statement emphasizing the fact that "these volunteers are reporting simply as citizens of the Commonwealth in response to a call from the governor" and not as strike-breakers.
Many graduates and present members of the University registered as members of the Volunteer Police Force of the city and approximately two hundred and fifty undergraduates have been regularly enrolled to date, although a number have now been withdrawn.