Harvard: The Bully On the Block?


"Harvard is the biggest boy on the block; we're the ones people immediately look to as the source of trouble," Michael F. Brewer, assistant vice president for government and community affairs, said last week.

Brewer, who left Harvard yesterday for a new job with an Indiana diesel engine concern, is right. Last week, at least, city officials were glaring at the University, charging that two possible violations of city law uncovered last week were just further proof of Harvard arrogance.

Harvard mailed some of its tenants their rent increase notices after the legal deadline, and officials say they had no plans to tell tenants of the situation or to correct it. "It's not our fault," Robert Silverman, Real Estate Department offical said, blaming city administrative foul-ups for the delay.

In the other incident, Harvard said they would continue to evict tenants from 7 Sumner Road so the building could be turned into office space for the Graduate School of Design. Some city officials, including the man who drafted the final version of the law, claim a new ordinance might make Harvard's action illegal.

It's not the actions themselves as much as Harvard's unconcern about them that upset many Cambridge politicians. "It's just two more examples of Harvard's belief that it is above the law," City Council candidate David Sullivan said last week. "Just because Harvard is the biggest boy on the block doesn't mean they're not the bully," he added.


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