Harvard Agrees to Extend Expansion Pact With City

Harvard will not buy property outside the "red line" real estate acquisition boundaries it set in 1976 until the University issues a new report to the community, Harvard officials notified the city yesterday.

The red line boundary on institutional expansion, drawn in 1976, would have expired January 1. Some city leaders feared Harvard would begin large scale property purchases once the agreement expired.

"The University will stand by its 1976 Report to the Community which includes the so-called "red line" residential acquisition, until a new report is issued," Robin Schmidt, vice-president for government and community affairs, stated in a letter to the chairman of the Cambridge Planning Board.

Schmidt also promised to include "appropriate community groups and individuals" in discussions leading to the drafting of a new report.

The Planning Board demanded the extension in a letter to Schmidt late last month.


City politicians said yesterday they were pleased with Harvard's decision.

"They did what the city asked--I'm sure that the city is pleased," Robert Healey, assistant city manager, said last night.

City councilor Francis Duehay '55 termed the announcement a "welcome beginning," adding that "repeated discussions of Harvard expansion in various forums, including the elections" may have prompted the move.

Let Us Pray

"Harvard in the past has not been adequately staffed or concerned in its dealings with the community," Duehay said, adding, "We all devoutly hope that that situation is changing," Duehay added.

Duehay called on Harvard to include both community groups and city officials--the Planning Board, the City Manager, and the City Council--in discussions leading to a new agreement.

Buy a Slide Rule

"I know that sounds complicated, but that's the way life is in a small and crowded community," Duehay said.

University officials are "discussing the issue internally" at the moment, Lewis A. Armistead, acting assistant vice-president for government and community affairs, said yesterday, declining to predict how long the process will take.

The extension of the current agreement means Harvard may not purchase residential housing outside of areas specified in the 1976 report.

Idle Speculation

University leaders drew the boundaries almost seven years ago, in an effort to curb property speculation in neighborhoods surrounding Harvard.

City leaders have accused Harvard of violating the line several times over the last two years. University officials deny these charges.