Harvard closes police station because students felt the sense of being 'policed'

Students successfully campaigned for the removal of the 17-year-old campus police substation at Harvard's Mather House.

The nearest campus police station, campus police headquarters, sits over half-a-mile away from Mather House.

Harvard University recently closed its Mather House Campus Police substation due to students’ feelings about law enforcement.

Students voiced emotional concerns of intimidation, citing several instances of armed officers eating lunch in the upper-class dining hall, The Crimson reports

The Mather House police substation was located on Cowperthwaite Street. The nearest police station now sits North-East 0.6 miles away on Massachusetts Avenue, according to Harvard’s campus map

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Student complaints ranged from not feeling safe to implications of being watched. Even complaints of forced violence and visual intimidation echoed throughout the accusations. 

The Mather House police substation was one of four campus police substations. According to The Crimson, the station was seven minutes away from campus police headquarters and the only substation to be attached to campus housing.

One resident of the Mather House, Faith Woods, told The Crimson that she did not feel safe with the substation attached to her residence hall, saying that its presence “implies that we’re being watched and policed, which is not a pleasant feeling.” 

[RELATED: WATCH: Students demand ‘Cops Off Campus’ days after nearby shooting]

“The real effect that the presence of the HUPD substation has on the Mather community is simply a violent, visual intimidation tactic that students are forced to see every time they enter the house,” the Harvard outlet quoted student Eleanor Taylor as saying.  

The substations were designed to build community relationships, the Harvard Police Department maintains on its website

Campus Reform reached out to Harvard University and its Police Department for comment; this article will be updated accordingly. 

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