Harvard University is reviewing its campus police department amid concerns officers have unfairly stopped Black people because of their race.
Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust announced the review on Tuesday in a letter to administrators and faculty that also was posted on the university’s Web site.
Faust said a special six-member committee will be headed by Boston attorney Ralph Martin, an African-American and former Suffolk County district attorney. It will study police diversity training, community outreach and recruitment.
“I am confident that this group’s efforts will help the university address this important set of issues in a constructive spirit and forthright manner,” Faust said.
Faust cited an incident earlier this month when campus police confronted a person using tools to remove a lock from a bicycle. She said the person was a summer employee who owned the bike and was trying to cut the lock because the key had broken. The Boston Globe reported that the person, whom Faust did not identify, was a Black high school student from Boston.
The Globe said Black students and faculty protested last year after police interrupted a campus field day sponsored by two Black student groups, asking if they had a right to be there. The newspaper said in 2004, police stopped a prominent Black Harvard professor as he was walking to his office because they mistook him for a robbery suspect.
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