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Assault Alleged at Rudenstine Reception

By Andrew J. Miller, Crimson Staff Writer

An alumnus of Harvard Law School (HLS) claims he was assaulted by a security officer at a reception for President Neil L. Rudenstine held Sunday night at Fannie Mae corporate headquarters in Washington D.C.

Edward Eitches, a 1974 graduate of HLS, says a security officer mistook him for a Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) protester because he had two pieces of PSLM literature in his hand.

Eitches alleges that a security guard grappled with him, maneuvered him into a room away from the rest of the crowd, and proceeded to hit him with a walkie-talkie, cutting his thumb, jamming his finger and spraining his hand.

The guard is an employee of Wackenhut Corporation, a firm subcontracted by Fannie Mae, and the firm has placed him on leave and is conducting an investigation.

Patrick F. Cannann, director of corporate relations for Wackenhut, said the company had no comment, beyond the fact that it was investigating the incident.

Thomas R. Nides, Senior Vice President for Corporate Resources, said Fannie Mae is also investigating the incident.

“We are looking into it aggressively,” he said.

“I feel terrible that anything happened,” he added.

Nides also said that the security guard acted inappropriately and has been put on leave by Wackenhut.

“The guard mistakenly assumed he was part of the protest group. Under no circumstances do we have any instructions to harm protesters,” he said.

Nides was quick to add that the investigation is not over.

“I’m not in a position to deny any of the facts,” he said.

Deborah Gelin ’79, a member of the board of the Harvard Club of Washington D.C., said she gave Eitches a band-aid for his wound.

“The guards gave me a band-aid to give to him,” she said. “It was more like a paper cut than anything else.”

Karen L. Dechman, another member of the Club board, said that she did not see any cases of abuse.

“I didn’t see any of that happen,” she said.

She also said that, had anyone seen anything happen, they would have given assistance immediately.

“We look out for all of our Harvard alums,” she said. “If he were being hurt, we would have been right there to the rescue.”

“He was very agitated,” she added.

Dechman also noted that, despite his injuries, Eitches still attended the reception.

“After the disagreement and everything was settled, he went on into the event,” she said.

University spokesperson Joe Wrinn said the University is shocked at the alleged events.

“If it’s true, it sounds like appalling behavior. Officially, we can’t confirm that it did occur, but if it did we would be appalled,” he said.

The reception was hosted by the Harvard Club of Washington D.C. and the Harvard Alumni Association.

—Staff Writer Andrew J. Miller can be reached at amiller@fas.harvard.edu.

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