Tenants Claim Harvard Ignored Building Code

The Mount Auburn Tenants Council filed criminal charges against President Pusey and the Fellows of Harvard College in the Third District court in East Cambridge yesterday for alleged violation of state laws requiring locks on all main doors of apartment buildings.

Jesse L. Gill, chairman of the tenants union--made up of residents of Harvard owned housing--said last night that Harvard has not been a law-abiding land-lord. Miss Gill charged that Harvard University, as owner of the apartment building complex at 122 Mount Auburn Street, 2-4-6 University Road, and 6 Bennet Street, refused until last week to install locks on the front doors of the buildings.

The state law requiring such locks has been in effect since last April. Miss Gill complained that Harvard has still not installed locks on the apartment windows, which can easily be reached from the outside fire escapes.

The installation of locks came in the wake of last week's murder of graduate student Jane Britton. After the killing, Harvard sent a letter to the apartment residents, explaining that 'due to recent happenings the City of Cambridge has required us to put locks on the front doors.'

'Need More Money'


"Does it take a murder to make Harvard obey the law?," Miss Gill asked last night in a meeting of the Cambridge City Council. "We tried to request the locks from Henry H. Cutler, Harvard's Manager for Taxes, Insurance, and Real Estate, but he told me with a smirk that 'we can't make improvements if we don't get more money out of you people.' We tried to see President Pusey and the Fellows of Harvard, but they talk to no one except themselves."

The City Council passed a resolution last night calling for the City Manager to enforce the Health and Housing codes which have been "flagrently violated." In introducing the order Councilor Barbara Ackermann said 'with all the problems that Harvard brings to this community, it is the least they can do to be lawabiding landlords. A girl is dead, and I do not say she would be alive today if there had been a lock on her door, but there is strong reason to believe that."

'Afraid to Complain'

Miss Gill testified before the Council that tenants in Harvard-owned housing have been afraid to complain about neglect, fearing that Harvard would raise the rent or destroy the building. "The men who run these things are strict businessmen," she said.

"We are poor people, and need low rent housing," Miss Gill said. "Yet Harvard a billion-dollar corporation, does not take into consideration our needs. When I asked Mr. Cutler how much Harvard makes off the building he answered 'We only make $14,000 net profit on the Mount Auburn Building and that isn't much percentage for our investment."

The criminal charges filed by Miss Gill will be heard in court on January 27.