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A police station on the Harvard University campus was forced to close after students complained that its presence was “a violent, visual harassment tactic.”

The police substation, located in the residential hall of Mather House, was closed in February after years of protest from awake students and teachers alike.

They argued that the outpost, which opened in 2005 and was one of four on campus, was more intimidating than helpful, according to the Harvard Crimsonand even targeted officers eating in the students’ dining room.

Eleanor “Ellie” Taylor, a Harvard student and Mather House resident, claimed the substation was being used as a “visual harassment tactic” against students.

“The real effect that the presence of the HUPD substation has on the Mather community is just a violent, visual harassment tactic that students have to see every time they enter the house,” Taylor said.

She added that there were concerns about Harvard University police officers eating meals next to students in the dining hall during the 2019-2020 academic year, leaving many students feeling uncomfortable.

A Harvard University police station on campus was forced to close after students complained that its presence was “a violent, visual harassment tactic.” Pictured: A Harvard University police officer blocks an area following a 2015 campus bomb threat

Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Taylor (left) and Faith Woods (right), both Harvard students and Mather House residents, say the police station was more intimidating than helpful

Faith Woods, another Mather House resident, told the Harvard Crimson that having the police station across the hall where she lived was inconvenient, but “instead” implies that we are being watched and monitored, which is no nice feeling’.

“I am well aware that the police are not there to actively protect me,” Woods said. “Having a police car outside Mather every night—which he does—don’t give me any sense of security.”

The Harvard University Police Substation, located in the residential hall of Mather House (pictured), was closed in February after protests from both students and faculty

Students claimed the substation was being used as a “visual harassment tactic” against them and that the police presence was more intimidating than helpful. Pictured: Police on campus in 2015 responding to a bomb threat

Student Kai DeJesus, pictured, says she wants the Harvard Police Department abolished completely

Harvard University Police Department spokesman Steven G. Catalano wrote in an email to the newspaper that the shutdown was due to student concerns and the extent to which police used the substation.

“The decision to close the Mather House substation was made last week in response to concerns from Mather House staff and students and to the amount of use of the substation by officers and members of the community,” Catalano wrote.

The police station was in Mather House on Cowperthwaite Street. Now the nearest station is 1 mile from the residential hall, according to the Harvard campus Map

Kai DeJesus, another Mather House resident, told the Harvard Crimson that closing the substation is a “very good first step,” but believes the university’s police department should eventually be abolished.

DeJesus pointed to an incident in 2020 where an officer was accused of using excessive force while arresting a black man at Harvard’s Smith Campus Center.

“It’s really important that we keep these violent institutions out of homes,” DeJesus said. “Ultimately, HUPD remains the police force that disproportionately attacks black and brown people here on campus and in Cambridge.”

“For real justice on this campus, HUPD must be abolished,” DeJesus said.

HUPD continues to operate substations at the university’s Longwood Campus, the Smith Campus Center, and the Harvard Kennedy School Wexner Building

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

“The shutdown will not affect the ministry’s ability to respond to community calls in an effective and timely manner,” Catalano wrote.

The substations are designed to build community relationships, Harvard Police Department maintains website

This content was originally published here.

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