A group of tenants from an apartment building at 1306 Massachusetts Avenue met with Harvard officials yesterday afternoon to discuss Harvard's alleged responsibility for providing security precautions in the building.
The building--which the tenants contend may be partly owned by Harvard--has been the scene of several burglaries in the last few years. On January 25, a woman living on the third floor was stabbed in the throat and raped, and a number of other apartments in the building were broken into.
The tenants say they have been complaining for weeks to R.M. Bradley & Co. Inc., managers of the property, about the lack of security precautions in the building.
Local building ordinances specify that in apartment buildings with over four units there must be both intercom and buzzer lock systems at the main entrance. The building had no intercom system at the time of the stabbing, and the police who investigated the incident told the tenants that the locks on the windows next to the fire escape were unsafe.
"If you give the windows a quick shove, the locks just pop off. The police demonstrated this to us on some of the older locks the day after the stabbing." Keith Near, a teaching fellow in the History of Science and a tenant in the building, said yesterday.
In 1968, the body of Jane S. Britton '67 was found in her apartment at 6 University Road--a building owned by Harvard and managed by R.M. Bradley & Co.
Tenants at that building had also been complaining about the absence of adequate security precautions.
The tenants of the 1306 Mass Ave building went to see Stephen S.J. Hall, vice president for Administration and chairman of the committee on Tenant Relations, yesterday because of a statement allegedly made to one of the tenants by Robert G. Crocker, Property Manager for R.M. Bradley & Co.
"We have someone who will swear in court that Crocker told her Harvard owned the building," Near said yesterday, "It is on the basis of that statement that Elia (Baker Peet, another tenant in the building) and I went to see Harvard this afternoon."
Yesterday, Hall denied that Harvard owned the building. "Harvard has an option to purchase, but has not exercised it," he said.
The tenants, however, say that Harvard's arrangement with R.M. Bradley & Co., may be somewhat different.
"As we understand it, it is not a rental agreement. "Peet said yesterday. "We think that R.M. Bradley owned one halt of the land where the Loeb Theater is now standing, and that in exchange Harvard gave them this property rent and expenditure free for 12 years after the completion of the Loeb.
"If this is true, they (R.M. Bradley & Co.) had grossly at the rent control hearings this summer," she added. "They claimed that they had to make some capital expenditures on the building stemming from an increase in insurance rates because of riots in the Square, and a pizza place that opened around the corner.
"However, if Harvard owns the building, then there is no reason to raise the rents, and they (R.M. Bradley & Co.) perjured themselves in court," Peet said.