Microwaves Are Legal

To the editors:

Parker R. Conrad ’02-’03 does an admirable job exposing Harvard Student Agencies’ (HSA) MicroFridge monopoly (Magazine, “What If It Were All a Lie?,” Oct. 10). However, the article neglects to mention one additional absurdity in HSA’s rental program. MicroFridges can be purchased directly from the manufacturer—Mac-Gray, the same company that services Harvard’s laundry machines—through their website Buying the same microwave outright costs hundreds of dollars less than what HSA charges for four years’ rent.

Furthermore, although a Cambridge official states in the article that microwaves are banned from dorms by state sanitary codes, state law may actually protect their use in college dorms. In 1989, the Massachusetts legislature amended the law concerning “lodging houses,” a term explicitly defined to include fraternities and college dormitories. The law now states that “Notwithstanding the provision of law or any regulation, ordinance or by-law to the contrary, a lodging house may furnish individual microwave ovens (M.G.L. 140 § 22B).”

The College has no business seizing student property that is used in a safe and legal manner—and HSA has no business taking students’ money through false advertising.

Stephen E. Sachs ’02

Oxford, United Kingdom

Oct. 9, 2002

The writer was editorial chair of The Crimson in 2001.