Winning Friends: Bud Riley Woos Student Protesters, Administrators

In 1969, a little more than thirty years ago, police officers beat and clubbed student protesters occupying University Hall to drive them from the building.

Within the past month, riot-geared officers wielding clubs and pepper spray forced their way into the student-occupied chancellor's office of the University of Wisconsin, arresting more than 50 protesters as dawn broke over the campus.

But such scenarios are almost unimaginable at Harvard today.


The Harvard University Police Department (HUPD), under the direction of Chief Francis D. "Bud" Riley, prides itself on the good relationship it has with students, even those who oppose the policies of the central administration.

Over the past year, the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM), which runs the living wage and anti-sweatshop campaigns, has staged a series of rallies and demonstrations protesting the labor policies of the University, but no students have been arrested and no violence has erupted.

"My officers know that their role is [to ensure that] students have the opportunity to express themselves in the accepted manner of the University culture," Riley says. "[The students] know we're not there to bully or harass them in such a way as to suppress the voicing of their opinions and issues."

Riley says the department seeks to maintain a delicate balance between enforcing University regulations and protecting the rights of students.

When the lines of communication are open and responsibility is shared, Riley says, demonstrations can be successful for all parties involved.

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