The Department of Housing and Urban Development has cancelled payment of an insurance claim filed by Brandeis University following the 11 day occupation of Ford Hall in January 1969.
According to HUD Brandeis failed to take proper precautions to prevent property damage before the takeover.
In a letter to Brandeis, HUD's federal insurance administrator, George K. Bernstein, indicated that this may imperil future disorder-damage claims.
"The implications of possible failure by university authorities to take such action as necessary to avoid riot losses are so great as with respect to future reinsurance claims as to mandate further investigation of the circumstances in which any loss occurred," he said.
An independent investigation will be the basis for a final decision on the Brandeis claim.
Harvard does not have government-subsidized insurance, according to L. Gard Wiggins, administrative vice-president of the University. Wiggins and Robert S. Mullen, director of Purchases and Insurance, both said they were not familiar with HUD-sponsored insurance. Various government agencies subsidize buildings and specific programs at Harvard, but HUD is not normally among those agencies.
In the Square, many small stores suffered extensive damage, often affecting their insurance. For example, Cambridge Trust, which was fully covered before last year, now must pay the first $2500 on damaged windows.
Each faculty of the University pays premiums for fire, sprinkler damage, and extensive coverage on academic buildings. The self-insurance plan adjusts premiums on a basis of a building's age and degree of fire-resistance.
Malicious mischief, vandalism, and plate glass losses are non-insured. The high cost of outside insurance makes it possible to run the risk of replacing windows no matter what season.
The University did not have much glass damage this Spring in comparison with the local businesses. Windows of the infirmary in Holyoke Center and a few dorm windows in the Yard were the only losses.
Compared to small merchants in the area, Harvard has been fortunate. Premiums charged to the University have not risen in three years, although this year they may change.