Source Attacks Guard Report

The Office of the General Counsel's part in investigating an incident between a Harvard security guard and a Black Graduate School of Education student raises questions about the objectivity of the reported findings, a source in the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) said in an interview this week.

The confidential report, which The Crimson obtained last week, alleged that security guard Stephen G. McCombe raised his voice in a hostile manner towards third-year Graduate School of Education student Richard Rakobane.

In response to the incident, the University's General Counsel's office chose Associate Dean for Medical School Faculty Affairs Margaret L. Dale to investigate as an impartial third party.

But a source in the police department has charged that University General Council Margaret H. Marshall was given a copy of Dale's report four days before the report was finished.

And the source also charged that Marshall determined the length of the suspension that HUPD Assistant Director for Finance and Administration Herbert J. Vallier gave to McCombe.


Vallier said yesterday that the matter was handled properly, but declined to address the specific charges of impropriety.

"The suspension and the length of it were determined by me," Vallier said in an interview Monday. "The approach [of the investigation] itself really was a fair approach in trying to evaluate and assess this thing."

And last night, Vallier said that the fact that the General Counsel's Office chose Dale did not compromise the report's objectivity. "No, not at all. We use the general counsel as resource," hesaid. Vallier declined further comment, callingMcCombe's case "an internal matter." Whencontacted at her office yesterday, Marshallrefused to comment on the case. Dale said in aninterview last night that she had "no comment" onthe investigation.

Two employees of Harvard's Office of theGeneral Counsel--University Attorney Robert W.Iuliano and paralegal Kristen Morris--were in somecapacity involved in Dale's investigation,according to November 30 letter obtained by TheCrimson.

Speaking on Marshall's behalf, Iuliano saidthat the "General Counsel's Office assisted MissDale in the coordination of the investigation butdid not participate in it substantively."

The allegations that the General Counsel'sOffice was involved in the investigation areparticularly distressing, the source said, due toMcCombe's past with them.

When he was a union steward three years ago,McCombe represented several security employees whocharged their department's administration--whichis ultimately responsible to the Office of GeneralCounsel--with discrimination.

McCombe and the General Counsel's Office havetraded barbs in the past over the discriminationclaims. At the time McCombe said Harvard's lawyershad worked to cover up the allegations.

Manning's involvement

The source also said the Timothy R. Manning,director of labor relations, saw the report fivedays before it was completed.

The director of labor relations is supposed togive an unbiased assessment of the suspension ifMcCombe chooses to file a grievance.