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3 More Guards Claim Discrimination

Harvard Security workers Allege Racial, Sexual Harassment by Job Supervisors

By Joe Mathews, Crimson Staff Writer

Three more present and former University security guards charged last week that supervisors mistreated them because they are minorities, bringing to six the number of guards who have made such allegations in the past month.

An Asian-American guard said last week a supervisor sexually harassed her in 1990, and a former guard said yesterday officials put him on probation because he is Black.

In addition, a Black security guard said last night that the department suspended him for sleeping on duty but only warned a white guard caught doing the same. The Black guard, Steven Thompson, questioned whether the University investigated the disciplinary discrepancy adequately.

"There's a lot of discrimination. We were always picked on," said Rodney Johnson, the former guard.

Johnson, now a guard at a local bank, said he saw racism in the discipline, promotion and day-to-day treatment of minority guards while he worked at Harvard between 1978 and 1988.

Assistant Director for Finance and Administration Brian D. Sinclair '62, who assists Harvard Police Chief Paul E. Johnson, denied the new charges last night, and emphasized that officials have investigated all six complaints. Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Sinclair said Thompson and a white guard were disciplined differently because the "circumstances were very different."

Sinclair also acknowledged that police officials last month called in and questioned a Black guard who told The Crimson that he had been racially harassed by two supervisors.

The guard, Pierre R. Voss, is on a disability leave, and police officials asked him only about his health during the meeting, Sinclair said.

The meeting--which both Sinclair and Johnson attended--occurred five days after Voss told The Crimson that Robert J. Dowling, manager of operations for security, and security supervisor Donald Behenna singled him out for verbal abuse because he is Black. Behenna singled him out for verbal abusebecause he is Black.

Dowling, who oversee the security guarddivision, also attended the meeting. He could totbe reached for comment.

In an interview yesterday, Voss accused thepolice department of using the meeting toretaliate for his public complaints.

Although Sinclair acknowledged that it wasunusual for Johnson and him to attend, hemaintained that the meeting was a routinedisciplined hearing. Voss was not disciplined atthe meeting.

Sinclair also said that police officialscontacted Voss' doctor to find out if he hadmissed any doctor's appointments while on leave.

Sinclair said the procedure was not unusual.

"We do this kind of thing with a lot ofgrievances and discipline you never see," he said.

The department has received "only six or seven"complaints about mistreatment of minority guardsduring the past four years, Sinclair said.

Sinclair said the department has reprimandedsecurity supervisors in the past, but he would notsay how many times or whether any of thereprimands were related to charges of racialharassment.

Sinclair confirmed that the departmentinvestigated a sexual harassment complaint made byKennedy School guard Jacquelynn Leonard in 1990.

In a grievance dated November 8, 1990, Leonardsaid security supervisor Thomas Henaghan"discriminated against me on a gender basis" and"harassed me on a racial basis."

Leonard said Henaghan "issued a sexist command"and referred to her as a "girl."

According to the complaint, Henaghan toldLeonard not to answer a phone call in the securityoffice. "No, you can't answer that. You're awoman. They'll hang up on you," he allegedly said.

"As far as he's concerned, he thought he wasprobably joking," said Leonard. "But women andminorities know that is not joking."

Leonard said she met with Henaghan to discussthe matter, and that she has not had any otherproblems with the supervisor. Henaghan could totbe reached for comment.

Last month, a Russian guard said Henaghanharassed him "almost every day" for the past twoyears. Henaghan denied the charge.

Sinclair said Henaghan denied Leonard's chargesof harassment in 1990. An investigation could notcorroborate either Henaghan's or Leonard'saccount, he said.

In an interview yesterday, Leonard also saidHenaghan tried to retaliate against her for makingthe harassment complaint.

"He put down that I was late when I wasn't,"said Leonard. "He was retaliatory."

Sinclair said that those instances of tardinesswere removed from Leonard's record, and deniesthat they constituted retaliation.

"It was a misunderstanding," he said. "If wehad thought it was retaliation, we would havetaken very strong steps."

Sinclair also denied that the departmentdiscriminated against former guard Rodney Johnson.

Johnson, who is Black, said the departmentrefused to rehire him in 1988 after he quit toapply for a post in the MIT police department.Johnson was employed at Harvard for 10 years andsaid Chief Johnson had promised him a post if onebecame available.

Johnson also said Harvard officials once placedhim on probation for six months after a whiteguard falsely accused him of stealing. He said theformer head of security often harassed minorityguards.

Voss and a Hispanic former guard, Rolando Diaz,alleged last month that Dowling, the current headof security, fired them because of theirethnicity.

Voss and Diaz also said security supervisorDonald Behenna singled them out for verbal abuseand tolerated the use of racial epithets

Dowling, who oversee the security guarddivision, also attended the meeting. He could totbe reached for comment.

In an interview yesterday, Voss accused thepolice department of using the meeting toretaliate for his public complaints.

Although Sinclair acknowledged that it wasunusual for Johnson and him to attend, hemaintained that the meeting was a routinedisciplined hearing. Voss was not disciplined atthe meeting.

Sinclair also said that police officialscontacted Voss' doctor to find out if he hadmissed any doctor's appointments while on leave.

Sinclair said the procedure was not unusual.

"We do this kind of thing with a lot ofgrievances and discipline you never see," he said.

The department has received "only six or seven"complaints about mistreatment of minority guardsduring the past four years, Sinclair said.

Sinclair said the department has reprimandedsecurity supervisors in the past, but he would notsay how many times or whether any of thereprimands were related to charges of racialharassment.

Sinclair confirmed that the departmentinvestigated a sexual harassment complaint made byKennedy School guard Jacquelynn Leonard in 1990.

In a grievance dated November 8, 1990, Leonardsaid security supervisor Thomas Henaghan"discriminated against me on a gender basis" and"harassed me on a racial basis."

Leonard said Henaghan "issued a sexist command"and referred to her as a "girl."

According to the complaint, Henaghan toldLeonard not to answer a phone call in the securityoffice. "No, you can't answer that. You're awoman. They'll hang up on you," he allegedly said.

"As far as he's concerned, he thought he wasprobably joking," said Leonard. "But women andminorities know that is not joking."

Leonard said she met with Henaghan to discussthe matter, and that she has not had any otherproblems with the supervisor. Henaghan could totbe reached for comment.

Last month, a Russian guard said Henaghanharassed him "almost every day" for the past twoyears. Henaghan denied the charge.

Sinclair said Henaghan denied Leonard's chargesof harassment in 1990. An investigation could notcorroborate either Henaghan's or Leonard'saccount, he said.

In an interview yesterday, Leonard also saidHenaghan tried to retaliate against her for makingthe harassment complaint.

"He put down that I was late when I wasn't,"said Leonard. "He was retaliatory."

Sinclair said that those instances of tardinesswere removed from Leonard's record, and deniesthat they constituted retaliation.

"It was a misunderstanding," he said. "If wehad thought it was retaliation, we would havetaken very strong steps."

Sinclair also denied that the departmentdiscriminated against former guard Rodney Johnson.

Johnson, who is Black, said the departmentrefused to rehire him in 1988 after he quit toapply for a post in the MIT police department.Johnson was employed at Harvard for 10 years andsaid Chief Johnson had promised him a post if onebecame available.

Johnson also said Harvard officials once placedhim on probation for six months after a whiteguard falsely accused him of stealing. He said theformer head of security often harassed minorityguards.

Voss and a Hispanic former guard, Rolando Diaz,alleged last month that Dowling, the current headof security, fired them because of theirethnicity.

Voss and Diaz also said security supervisorDonald Behenna singled them out for verbal abuseand tolerated the use of racial epithets

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