Council May Investigate HRE
PBHA Committee Spurred Proposed Resolution
At a meeting Monday, the Undergraduate Council will debate a resolution questioning the housing development policy of Harvard Real Estate (HRE).
The resolution asks HRE, which manages Harvard's non-academic real estate holdings, how it takes into account the interests of Cambridge tenants when formulating its development policy.
"We've asked about Harvard's development i.e., purchasing policies," said Sean T. Buffington '91, a noncouncil member who is backing the resolution. "We have asked about Harvard's role as a landlord. We have asked about Harvard's role in rent-control.
"Harvard has definitely done a few underhanded things," Buffington said. "We have examples in rent control housing--people entering their rooms without permission. What we want to do is to have it acknowledged as a campus issue."
Harvard University is one of Cambridge's largest landlords.
The resolution was prompted by a subcommittee of Phillips Brooks House Association's Committee on the Homeless, which has been investigating HRE's development policy since last October, said M. Scott Murphy '92, a member of both the council and the PBHA committee.
Members of the committee said they hoped the council will make a commitment to pursue the issue.
"I hope what is going to happen is they will pass it, and them we will be getting an answer shortly and then have a followup with specific requests," said PBHA steering committee member Stephan J. Klasen '91, also a member of the homeless committee.
PBHA has often taken an interest in housing in Cambridge. This fall, the group's cabinet voted to condemn Proposition 1-2-3, a Cambridge ballot resolution that would have significantly weakened rent control by allowing tenants of rent-controlled housing to buy their homes.
Officers at HRE did not return several phone calls.