Frightened Harvard students make a peculiar decision to increase safety

Yesterday, while touring an old part of town, I came across a cemetery with graves going back 240 years. The most striking thing was that, before the modern era, half the graves were for children under ten. There were no snowflakes then. I can’t help contrasting that incredibly tough time with the news that Harvard students insisted on closing a police substation in one of the dorms because the police frightened them. We have reared in America a completely defective generation of young people.

The Harvard Crimson first reported the story almost a month ago but the news finally went from the campus to the nation a few days ago:

The Harvard University Police Department is set to close its Mather House substation following years of outcry from students and faculty.

The Mather facility, which opened in 2005, is one of four HUPD substations on Harvard’s campus. Students have long complained that the outpost — the only such facility attached to an undergraduate house — is more intimidating than it is helpful.

A police department spokesman explained that both faculty and staff were opposed to the substation’s presence on campus. Two students, one a sophomore and one a senior, explained the horror of having the police nearby:

Mather resident Faith A. Woods ’24 said she did not feel safe having the substation attached to her house.

“I am well aware that the police are not there to keep me actively safe,” Woods said last week, before the department said it would close the facility. “Having a police car sitting outside of Mather every night — which it does — doesn’t bring me any sense of safety.

“Instead,” she said, “it implies that we’re being watched and policed, which is not a pleasant feeling.”

Eleanor M. Taylor ’22, a Mather resident, said the substation does not fulfill a purpose other than eliciting fear, pointing to the office’s small size.

“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,” she said.

In 1804, your three siblings would die over the course of a week from a mysterious fever, and you, all of eight years old, would go to bed at night praying, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take”—and you’d mean every one of those words. In 2022, a couple of 20-somethings consider it an act of violence if they “are forced” to see a police station.

Image: Police image by freepik. Mather House in the public domain.

There is, of course, a class element to all of this. We’ve all seen photographs from the last two years showing our self-styled elites (politicians and movie stars) out and about, faces exposed to the air, while the servants are forced to wear masks, lest their working-class germs infect their “betters.” The same issue seems to have been at play on the Harvard campus:

Since campus reopened last fall, armed officers have not been permitted to eat in upperclassman dining halls, according to the faculty deans.

Taylor said the new dining hall rule represents “forward progress,” but criticized the slow pace of reform and a lack of transparency in the department’s decision-making process.

I suspect that there are students on campus who don’t fear the police but see them as a helpful resource, especially those female students who believe in the canard that one out of every four women on a college campus will be sexually assaulted. Actually, the same women foolish enough to believe that statistic may well be leftist enough to fear the police. I suspect many of them will be literally mugged (or raped) by reality.

Harvard students are supposed to be America’s “best and brightest.” Judging by the standards set out in this article, if they really are the best and brightest, this country truly is doomed. 

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