Guards Divide Over Bias

Charges Denied

Allegations of racial harassment made by seven former and current University security guards have sparked a controversy over how minorities are treated in the security division of the Harvard Police Department.

A host of University and police officials have denied the charges--including Vice President and General Counsel Daniel Steiner '54, Police Chief Paul E. Johnson, Assistant Director for Finance and Administration Brian D. Sinclair, Associate Director of Labor Relations Carolyn R. Young and Manager of Operations for Security Robert J. Dowling.

Chief Johnson said this week that security supervisors have been in structed to refer all questions to him. Steiner ahs not responded to repeated requests for phone interviews on this subject for the last two days. And University attorney Diane B. Patrick, who performed an investigation of the allegations, has refused comment.

"How could I, as a Black man, tolerate a racist supervisor?" said Johnson in an interview last month. "That wouldn't make any sense."

Many of the details of the various harassment charges are still sketchy. Some former and current security employees involved in incidents have not been reached for comment, and some guards speak only in generalities about the guard unit.


Many guards interviewed by The Crimson agreed to talk only after Chief Johnson and Dowling permitted them to do so last month.

Interviews with more than two dozen former and current guards conducted in the last month reveal sharp divisions within the guard unit over the issue of racial harassment.

Other guards say there is no harassment, andpraise Johnson and Dowling's management of thedepartment. Many others say that while there isracial tension in the department, they neverpersonally witnessed instances of harassment. Someof these guards add that racial tension has beenheightened because representatives of the ServiceEmployees International Union exaggerate theHarassment complaints.

Other guards say the problems of harassment areserious. These guards say supervisors usediscipline to retaliate against employees whocomplain about harassment. Fear of reprisals haskept other guards silent, some say.

All seven security guards who have chargedmistreatment say they were never interviewed byPatrick or anyone in the general counsel's officeconcerning an investigation.

In an interview Monday, Steiner would not saywhether the guards charging harassment wereinterviewed. He reiterated that Patrick'sinvestigation found the allegations to be withoutmerit.

A complaint by Yard guard Steven Thompson, whois Black, apparently prompted investigations bythe Office of Labor Relations and by the GeneralCounsel's office.

Security and union officials met with Thompsonand University attorney Patrick on September 12,1991. Patrick said she would investigate thecharges and get back to the union. Union businessagent Francis E. Fanning said Tuesday he was stillawaiting a response form Patrick.

In addition to Patrick's probe, Harvard'soffice of labor relations also conducted aninvestigation of Thompson's specific complaint.Thompson also said he was never interviewed by anyrepresentative of that office.

Carolyn R. Young, associate director of laborrelations, said she performed the investigationand found Thompson's complaint to be withoutmerit.

Black guard Pierre R. Voss last month said hewas racially harassed twice by Dowling and atleast 25 times by security supervisor DonaldBehenna.