HBS Student Alleges Police Harassment

HUPD Chief to Investigate Charge of Unfair Treatment Based on Race

Harvard University Police Chief Paul E. Johnson said yesterday that he is investigating a complaint by a first-year Harvard Business School student who said he was harassed and abused by police officers.

In a written statement, the student, who is Black, questioned whether students are singled out by the police for unfair treatment because of their race.

The incident under investigation took place October 14. According to Johnson, officers had responded to a report that two people were attempting to break into the superintendent's office at the Soldier's Field apartment complex.

According to the student, a Harvard Police officer stopped him and asked to see his student identification card. The student said he refused.

The student, who said he has been stopped by campus police on two other occasions since September, said that the University's policy requiring students to surrender their I.D.s to police officers on request is being "applied disproportionately to Black male students at Harvard, reflecting their personal prejudices in performing their duty."


Student Alleges Abuse

The student alleged that in the encounter that followed his refusal to show his I.D., the officer pushed him up against the wall, put his finger in his face and threatened him.

The student added that he had addressed an obscenity at the officer before receiving any threat or physical abuse.

Johnson said he could not comment on the specific allegations yesterday because of the ongoing investigation into the matter. But he said he would have an "extensive and in depth" comment later in the week after his investigation is complete.

The president of the Business School African-American Student Union (AASU), LaDetra McGaha, said she has met with various Business School officials to discuss the incident and to clarify the University's policies concerning surrender of student I.D.s to police officers. McGaha also said she will be meeting with members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Black Students Association tomorrow to formulate an appropriate response to the allegations