More police, less Harvard

Freedom watch
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE  |  April 16, 2008


The Harvard Crimson reported this week the arrest of two non-student demonstrators at a student-organized protest in front of Holyoke Center. The crimes? Boston resident Lisa Nieves, 29, noticed an undercover Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) officer taking photographs of demonstrators and sought to even the sides by photographing the cop. Of course, a disturbing-the-peace charge against Nieves was promptly dismissed; taking photographs of an undercover intelligence agent is not a crime.

Resisting-arrest charges remain against Patrick Keaney, 38, of Boxborough, for allegedly linking arms with Nieves during her arrest.

The ACLU of Massachusetts (full disclosure: I serve on its Board of Directors) is questioning why Harvard has a political-intelligence unit in the first place. Frankly, I suspect this intelligence unit, which I also noticed photographing protesters at a campus anti-war demonstration in March, is not a recent addition. HUPD has a long record of abusing students’ rights. I ran an advertisement in the Crimson back in October 1993 asking students to report to my law firm instances of abuse by HUPD, since I had a number of Harvard-student clients at the time whose rights had been violated, including one of the worst instances of racial profiling I have ever encountered. More police, less Harvard, I thought at the time. I see things haven’t improved much since.

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  Topics: This Just In , Ivy League, Photography, American Civil Liberties Union,  More more >
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