The automobile questionnaire which the Corporation sent out to the student body on Saturday at the request of the local police is indicative of a changed relationship between Harvard and the Cambridge municipal authorities. This conciliatory move by the University was the result of a sincere desire on the part of the Cambridge Police Department to cooperate with University Hall in assisting the students to conform to the law.
Cambridge, with three nationally-known colleges inside its city limits, has a unique problem in regard to out-of-state cars. With so many students driving cars registered in other states, accidents, stolen cars, and the misuse of stored cars by garage attendants are very difficult to trace; names of the car owners, local addresses, and other necessary information are lacking at Police Headquarters. Furthermore Cambridge city statutes are quite stringent, and, should a student involved in an accident not report it within a reasonable time, he becomes liable for criminal action. If the necessary information was available at Central Square, however, the student could be reached quickly for a report and thus possible court proceedings would be avoided.
Moreover, this questionnaire was not instigated by the police with a view towards possible increased revenue in the future. For compliance with the law merely involves getting a free permit from the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, issued on proof that a car is properly insured and that the operator has passed a license test similar to the one given by Massachusetts. Certainly sufficient insurance and a tested driver are desirable and necessary for any automobile driven on the teeming highways of the Commonwealth.
Yet the most important aspect of this questionnaire, and the thing that in the light of the pre-election foolishness will be hardest to prove to the student body, is that the Cambridge police stand ready to help them at all times. A few patrolmen, it is true, may enjoy baiting the students, but the majority of the force respect students as much as any other group of residents. Statements from Headquarters officials vouch for this attitude. The attitude at Headquarters is one of cooperation and assistance that should not be spurned by the University. If the prompt action taken by the Corporation in sending out the questionnaire and pertinent information on registration regulations is any indication, Harvard is ready to cooperate. It is to the students' best interests to fill out the questionnaire immediately and thus further show their desire for a reconciliation with the city authorities. Then all Cambridge can be refreshed by the thought that for a change town and gown are on the same side of the fence.