Meese Attends K-School Session
Attorney General Arrives on Campus Without Incident
One day after he was to have delivered a speech and accepted a medal from the Kennedy School, Attorney General Edwin Meese III arrived at Harvard for a weekend conference on community policing.
Citing urgent Cabinet business, Meese postponed his Wednesday speech until May 20. He was to receive one of a limited number of commemorative medals that the Kennedy School minted for its 50th anniversary celebration.
Meese traveled to Cambridge last night for the third meeting of the Kennedy School-sponsored Executive Session on Community Policing. The closed-door conference brings together police chiefs, city officials, and academics to discuss ways to improve the police departments' relations with their communities, said Francis X. Hartmann, the Kennedy School researcher who chairs the session.
Police chiefs from New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, and Scotland Yard are among those expected to participate in the meetings.
Hartmann said that the executive session is expected to reach its conclusions and issue a public report in about a year and a half.
Although several campus groups had publicized their intention to demonstrate during Meese's Wednesday appearance, the attorney general's arrival last night was not met by protest.
Amid unusually tight security, police officers prevented reporters from approaching Meese last night, and a Justice Department spokesman yesterday said the attorney general would have no time to answer questions during his three-day stay inCambridge.
Meese did not respond to a shouted questionwhile security personnel whisked him from theschool at around 10:30 p.m. He waved.
Participants in the conference who attendedlast night's opening dinner of roast beef andstring beans said there was no discussion of themedal which has evoked angry protests fromstudents and professors during the past two weeks.
Hartmann said after the dinner that thecontroversy over the medal has not affected theconference. Last night, the attorney general gavea seven-minute speech on the tradeoffs involved inbeing sensitive to the community and tough onserious crimes, Hartmann said.
"The attorney general seemed very relaxed," oneparticpant said while leaving the Kennedy Schoollast night.
Terry Eastland, Meese's principal spokesman,said the campus backlash against the KennedySchool dean's decision to honor Meese "is just nota matter of overwhelming significance to us."
"It's just another speaking invitation,"Eastland said.
Asked if Meese felt insulted by the fact thatDean Graham T. Allison '62 apologized to studentsand faculty for his decision to award Meese themedal, Eastland said, "He has no view on that."
Hartmann said there are no plans for Meese tomeet with Allison, who is in Florida, during theattorney general's current visit.
Patrick S. Korten, another Justice Departmentspokesman, said that business in Washington forcedMeese to postpone his Wednesday speech and cancelseveral other commitments this week.
"There were meetings with the president at theWhite House both [Wednesday and Thursday] whichrequired his presence," Korten said. Korten saidthe discussions involved terrorism and drugpolicy.
The Harvard conference resumes at 8 a.m. todayand remains in session until 5 p.m., Hartmannsaid.
Jonathan M. Moses and Noam S. Cohencontributed to this report.