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Tutor Leaves After Alleged Rules Violation

Quincy tutor’s departure announced in Saturday e-mail

By Rebecca D. O’brien, Crimson Staff Writer

A Quincy House resident tutor has left the House following allegations that she had an amorous relationship with an undergraduate, an apparent violation of University rules.

The news of the departure of Lauren E. Brown, a graduate student in history whom several students described as a charismatic and popular member of the House, came in a brief e-mail sent to all Quincy residents by House Master Robert P. Kirshner ’70 early Saturday morning.

The e-mail gave no explanation for Brown’s sudden departure.

Resident tutors and students familiar with the circumstances say that four weeks ago, a male Quincy senior met with Kirshner to discuss the senior’s alleged concerns following the breakup of what the senior described to Kirshner as an amorous relationship with Brown.

Brown, Kirshner and Associate Dean of the College Thomas A. Dingman ’67 all declined comment for this story.

According to the handbook for resident tutors, “amorous relationships” between resident tutors and undergraduates are prohibited and are grounds for immediate dismissal.

The handbook reads: “The Dean of Harvard College has determined that any amorous relationship with any undergraduate student so compromises appropriate exercise of Resident Tutor responsibilities that its existence will be grounds for immediate termination as a Resident Tutor. As a condition of accepting appointment, Resident Tutors agree to abide by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences policies concerning sexual harassment and amorous relationships as set forth in the Handbook for Students.”

In an e-mail sent to students in her entryway and to Quincy history concentrators four hours after Kirshner’s, Brown, 27, said that she was leaving because during her time as a resident tutor, she was “not being remotely productive” in her efforts to finish her dissertation. She wrote to students that she would be in New York City part-time until June and would possibly be moving there permanently.

“So basically it comes down to this - I’ve been spending way too much time taking care of y’all, and nowhere near enough time taking care of myself. I’ve had an amazing amount of fun with you guys (perhaps a little too much fun ; ) and expect you all to keep me posted on what you’re up to,” Brown wrote in her e-mail.

Kirshner declined to comment on the conditions of Brown’s departure and declined to confirm or deny Brown’s e-mail explanation.

Following the Quincy senior’s conversation with Kirshner in late February, students and resident tutors say Brown was showing less of a presence in the House. Students, however, say she was at a large undergraduate party March 6 where alcohol was served.

In the e-mail to her entryway and to history concentrators that followed Kirshner’s e-mail, Brown suggested that students contact her if “you’re in NYC and you want to grab a beer (I was never very good at enforcing all those rules anyways).”

“Rules? Screw the rules. No cops, No hospitals. Everything else is gravy,” she wrote later in the e-mail.

In a tutor meeting March 4 that Brown did not attend, Kirshner outlined the tutor handbook regulations on amorous relationships with undergraduates but did not mention any names or say that the rules had been violated, said tutors who attended.

A member of Quincy’s tutor selection committee—on which Brown, who was a first-year tutor, also served—said that an e-mail was sent to all the members of the committee except Brown on March 8 informing the committee that they would have to search for a new tutor for next year.

According to students and tutors close to the Quincy senior, the senior approached officials within the Harvard administration with his concerns about the relationship on March 9, a couple weeks after contacting Kirshner and other Quincy officials for the first time.

Bradley Zakarin, the assistant head tutor in the history department, e-mailed Quincy history concentrators March 16 instructing them to go to the department for any “advising and signature needs throughout the rest of the term.” Those duties are normally handled by the resident tutors in each House.

Kirshner told tutors in a meeting that same day that Brown was leaving the House for good, and then e-mailed the House four days later.

Brown is expected to continue teaching the sociology course for which she is a teaching fellow.

—Staff writer Rebecca D. O’Brien can be reached at robrien@fas.harvard.edu.

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