The Civil Rights Division of the state Attorney General’s office is joining the Boston Licensing Division to investigate Cure Lounge’s decision to shut down a party for African-American Harvard and Yale graduate students and alumni, according to an e-mail sent to students at Harvard Medical School on Thursday.
The e-mail, sent from Medical School faculty, said that Maura T. Healey, chief of the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General’s office, encouraged other attendees to come forward with their accounts.
The faculty noted that Healey said she would be sensitive to students’ concerns about confidentiality.
The Attorney General’s announcement was prompted by complaints from several attendees of the party, according to the Boston Globe.
Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley announced in November that she asked the city’s Licensing Division to investigate the incident.
A spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said that the city’s Licensing Division would be “working closely with the attorney general’s office” to determine whether the club’s behavior was inappropriate, according to the Boston Globe.
Students complained that Cure racially discriminated against the attendees of the Nov. 20 party after the management shut down the event prematurely, saying they had seen well-known “gang bangers” in the swarm outside the club and were afraid that the group would attract “the wrong crowd.”
George Regan, Cure’s spokesperson, told the Boston Globe that the club made the right decision when they ended the party, saying that the club’s management was concerned that the people they recognized as known trouble-makers were a security threat to others in attendance.
Regan said this potential danger was only one reason for the management’s decision to shut the party down.
In addition, he cited a dispute between the club’s management and the party’s promoters about whether University ID was required for entry.
Regan said these two factors justified the club’s decision to end the party.
“If this happened tomorrow, they’d handle it the same way again,” Regan said. “There’s nothing to apologize for.”
Event organizers Michael M. Beal ’06 and Kwame Owusu-Kesse ’06, both second-year students at Harvard Business School, could not be reached for comment.
Medical School Associate Dean for Student Affairs Alvin F. Poussaint, who co-authored the e-mail sent to Medical School students, told The Boston Globe that the club should have called police or reinforced security if they were worried about troublemakers and that the club owners should apologize to the attendees.
“They can’t shut down a club to blacks or any other group on the basis of race,” Poussaint said in the Boston Globe.
“Would they shut down the club if it was tough-looking white kids in line?” Poussaint added.
—Staff writer Caroline M. McKay can be reached at email@example.com.