Guidelines Ask Tourists To Stay Away From Dorm Windows

Tourists pose for photos in front of the famous John Harvard statue in Harvard Yard last year.

The hundreds of visitors who flock to Harvard Yard daily will have to be a little more careful about what they snap and where they stand this fall.

Under a new set of visitor guidelines, posted throughout the Yard, Harvard is asking its many visitors not to hold up cameras against classroom and dorm room windows, a common happening. Administrators also still prohibit videotaping, as well as public access to any University building without an accompanying Harvard official, according to a set of the guidelines posted online.

The rules also instruct tourists not to walk through private events held in the Yard and note that they are “expected to keep all foot traffic flowing to prevent any congestion within the pathways and to protect the campus landscape.”

They also rule out the use of megaphones, microphones, and loud speakers.


“In order to assure that our students, faculty, and staff have the ability to advance our primary mission of teaching and research as we accommodate our many visitors, we have put in place the following visitor guidelines,” the new rules say. “Failure to comply with these policies will result in termination of your visit and loss of future tour visit privileges.”

According to University spokesperson Tania M. deLuzuriaga, more than 45,000 visitors took the Harvard Information Center’s Guided Historical Tour alone in 2013. Many more people come to the University with a privately led tour group, for admissions tours and open houses, or as part of a self-guided travel experience.

Harvard students—especially the freshmen who populate the dorms in and around the Yard—have long complained about the regular throng of tourists who visit their home, many eagerly hunting for the perfect photo of Harvard undergraduates in their natural habitat.

“First-floor living means captivity—the need to shut out the scant sunlight that enters the room because your half-naked physique might offend a passer-by,” quipped Adam I. Arenson ’00 in a 1996 Crimson opinion piece. “And, if it is afternoon and you can reasonably assume no ‘inappropriateness’ will be going on, your open shades are greeted by telephoto lenses and the criss-cross pattern of the window screen on a stranger's nose.”

—Staff writer Luca F. Schroeder can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @lucaschroeder.