Harvard closes police station after student complaints

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — Harvard University has closed a campus police station after students complained that the substation attached to a residence hall made them feel intimidated and unsafe.

The Harvard University Police Department station was located at the Mather House and was one of four HUPD outposts on campus. It was the only station attached to a residence hall.

Many students and groups on campus were glad to see the police station go.

Eleanor Taylor, a Mather House resident, told the Harvard Crimson that the presence of the substation was simply a “violent, visual intimidation tactic that students are forced to see every time they enter the house.”

Taylor previously complained to Mather’s faculty deans because armed HUPD officers regularly ate in the dining hall alongside students, according to the Crimson.

Another resident, Faith Woods, told the school newspaper she did not feel safe having the station attached to her house and said she does not believe the police are there to keep her safe.

“This is regurgitated stuff that we hear out there and it especially comes from people who have most likely not been the victim of a property crime, let alone a violent crime,” Former Tulsa police Officer Sean “Sticks” Larkin said Tuesday on “Dan Abrams Live.”

The main organization leading the effort against HUPD, the Harvard Alliance Against Campus Cops (HAACC), initially agreed to join the show but later canceled.

The group’s website describes itself as “a coalition of students and alumni demanding the abolition of the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD).”

The organization encourages people to consider “five alternatives to calling the police,” including handling the situation on your own or just getting over whatever situation you find yourself in and putting up with the “inconvenience.”

Larkin emphasized the importance of having police on campus to respond to situations like mass shootings and said the mere presence of police can deter violent crime.

As for students complaining about eating next to campus police officers, Larkin pointed out the hypocrisy.

“You can’t ask for the police to be part of the community and then say you don’t want them sitting in there eating. It’s ridiculous,” Larkin said.

HUPD will continue to operate substations at the University’s Longwood Campus, the Smith Campus Center, and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Wexner Building. 

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