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Runaway Caught In Adams House

Summer students placed on probation for housing unauthorized resident

By Alan J. Tabak, Crimson Staff Writer

Two Summer School Program students were placed on probation for the duration of the program after allowing an acquaintance who ran away from home to stay in their Adams House suites for two and a half weeks.

Mike Lin, who graduated from high school in the spring, stayed in rising high school senior Elizabeth Chang’s room the night of July 9. He then moved to rising high school senior Song Wang’s suite for the remainder of his stay, until July 27.

All three attended Bridgewater-Raritan High School in New Jersey.

The Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) was called by the Summer School Program dean’s office to remove the individual from campus on July 27, HUPD spokesperson Steven G. Catalano said.

Catalano said that as a matter of policy, HUPD does not confirm the identity of anyone not arrested.

Summer School Program Dean of Students Christopher S. Queen declined to comment, explaining that the matter was a “confidential case.”

Wang said Lin ran away from home over a dispute with his parents concerning his collegiate plans.

Chang said Lin came to Boston on July 8 with a mutual friend—but only en route did Lin reveal that he had no intention of returning home. Lin arrived in Boston with no place to stay and scant funds, Chang said.

Chang said she was told by her friend on July 9 that Lin had spent the day attempting to check into area homeless shelters, only to be turned away because he was not yet 18 and could not sign himself in. She said she felt obligated to let Lin stay in her room overnight.

Chang said that after the first night, she asked Wang to allow Lin to sleep in his room. She said she did not want to be caught with Lin in her room because having a co-ed overnight visit is grounds for automatic expulsion from the program. She added that her chances of being caught were high, as her proctor lived across the hall.

Summer School Program rules mandate that guests of the same sex as the suite resident can only stay overnight on weekends and must be preregistered.

“I knew that by asking Song, I was also putting him in a situation he could be penalized for,” Chang said. “If there was no rule against [co-ed overnight stays], I probably would have kept Mike in my room so that if anything happened, it would have just been me that would have been punished. I was comfortable with Mike.”

Wang, who lived by himself in an Adams House triple, said he felt he could not refuse the request.

Wang, who moved to Massachusetts after ninth grade, said he did not know Lin personally when they attended the same school, but that he did know Chang well.

Wang said Lin called home three days after moving into his room—which Wang said he thought would end Lin’s stay.

“We expected his parents to be like, ‘Come home now or we’re going to kick your ass,’” Wang said.

Instead, Lin’s parents came up the next weekend and gave him money to look for an apartment of his own.

Wang said Lin then spent the next two weeks claiming to be looking for a job and a place to live, but spent most of his time at Adams House.

“He wasn’t supposed to stay for two and a half weeks. He was supposed to leave after two or three days, which he didn’t. I didn’t feel comfortable kicking him out,” Wang said. “He kept on saying, ‘Oh yeah, my parents are coming this weekend.’ Then, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll get an apartment soon.’ Then, ‘Oh yeah, apartment [rentals] don’t start until the first of the month.’ He just kept on pushing it, week by week.”

Wang said Lin was able to enter Adams House by piggybacking off people with keycard access.

Chang said Lin was finally found out on July 27 when she, Lin and several friends gathered in a friend’s room. She said proctors meeting in a room diagonally across the Adams House courtyard saw the gathering and came to investigate the unregistered event. In the Summer School Program, a party is defined as 10 or more people in one suite.

When the guests were asked to produce Harvard identification, Lin was unable to do so.

Catalano said HUPD was called that night by the Summer School Program dean’s office.

HUPD issued a trespass warning—an official notification that an individual is no longer welcome on a property and can be arrested if he or she returns to that property—and then escorted Lin to the South Station bus terminal, Catalano said.Catalano added that Lin cooperated with the police.

“It does not appear that this individual posed any danger to the residents of Adams House,” Catalano said.

But Catalano said such a stay could be a cause for concern.

“Anytime there is an unauthorized or uninvited person, that concerns the HUPD,” Catalano said.

Chang and Wang both confirmed that they were brought before the Administrative Board for harboring Lin—an indication that their case could have resulted in their expulsions, particularly given the students’ perception that most students brought before the body have been expelled this summer.

Both said they expected to be expelled from the program. Ultimately, the two were allowed to stay.

“I was very surprised,” Chang said.

But despite a punishment more lenient than expected, Wang said the incident could change his college application plans.

“I was thinking of applying here, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get tagged now, so it’s a tougher decision,” Wang said.

—Staff writer Alan J. Tabak can be reached at tabak@fas.harvard.edu.

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