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Update on panel’s examination of April arrest

first_img The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. On April 13, the Cambridge Police Department arrested a Harvard College student, a development that sparked concerns on campus and in the larger community. In the days that followed, then-President Drew Faust sent a message to the community expressing her concern, noting that the student was in obvious distress. She called for a better understanding of how that had happened and whether authorities could have interceded earlier and more effectively.To help ensure that the facts surrounding the arrest are clear and that recommendations are made for the future, a review committee was established, chaired by Annette Gordon-Reed, Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The committee worked through the summer and plans to issue a final report and recommendations this fall. The Gazette spoke with Gordon-Reed about the committee’s activities so far, and its next steps.Q&AAnnette Gordon-ReedGAZETTE: What was your reaction when you heard the news and saw the footage of the student arrest back in April?GORDON-REED: It was shocking. I know that area well from being a student, and as a professor at the Law School. With the advent of cellphone cameras, videos of police/citizen interactions have become all too familiar. I’ve seen so many videos of that nature, but this was happening in a place I know well. I was in California at the time, and one of my students at the Law School emailed me about what happened pretty soon afterward. I think President Faust was speaking for so many of us when she called the event “profoundly disturbing.”GAZETTE: Shortly after the arrest, a review committee was put together with you as chair. What can you tell us about the work the committee has been doing?GORDON-REED: It has been a really busy summer for us. We’ve had about seven meetings with the whole committee together, as well as additional subcommittee-type meetings to discuss specific issues. When the formation of the review committee was announced, we created an email address to get community input. Our first order of business was to read through the dozens of messages that came in. Then we gathered a lot of survey data and reports on topics that came up in the messages and in conversations in the immediate aftermath of the event. We got copies of the protocols that Harvard College, the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD), and Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) follow in emergency situations, and of documentation of what happened on the night of the incident. The Committee met with representatives from the College, HUHS, and HUPD, and spoke with students, including representatives of Black Students Organizing for Change. We also met with John Wilson, who is advising President Larry Bacow on, among other things, the implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging. Unfortunately, given that they are currently undergoing an independent review of this incident, the Cambridge Police Department (CPD) was unable to meet with us.So overall it was a lot of information to take in, but necessary to what we are trying to accomplish. We see the scope of our review as looking at three distinct phases of activity: 1) the events leading up to the incident; 2) the circumstances of the incident itself; and 3) the community reaction to it. From all our discussions, one thing is clear: Everyone shares the goal of making sure our students are safe and have resources available to them when they need them.GAZETTE: Although you did not meet with them, are you also reviewing the actions of the CPD?GORDON-REED: At the end of the day, the protocols and practices of CPD are beyond the scope of our charge, and beyond the scope of our authority, actually. The review committee was asked to “identify opportunities for improvement across a range of institutional activities” at Harvard. Our overriding goal is to determine what actions we can take here at Harvard to address the concerns this incident has raised for our community.GAZETTE: What kind of concerns have you been hearing?GORDON-REED: Well, there have been some consistent themes in what people have been reporting to us. First, we heard many different understandings of what to expect from an emergency response. There was confusion on the part of some about why a call to HUHS would result in police coming to the scene, while others always assume the police will be involved as first responders to medical emergencies. And a lot of people talked about the three phone numbers on the back of the Harvard ID. It’s important for us all to understand how members of the community are choosing which number to call, and what assumptions are driving those choices.We’ve also heard that many would have liked HUPD to have been on the scene that night, even though the incident occurred off campus. What can we expect from HUPD in incidents that occur off campus? So it’s a combination of evaluating our current practices while at the same time trying to understand what the community’s expectations are. This is a challenge that takes on particular urgency as we expand our campus and think about students passing through multiple jurisdictions as they move from the Yard to new facilities in Allston.We also heard questions about whether our campus resources are serving all members of our community well. The community reaction to the April incident highlighted the need to better understand the concerns that members of our community who feel vulnerable have about their safety, and what they experience when they try to get access to health and other resources.And finally, there were real concerns expressed about the levels of dangerous drinking that occurred at the College’s Yardfest event. This year there were 18 medical transports, which is an eye-popping increase compared with past years. That clearly was a strain on first-responder resources.GAZETTE: What has surprised you most about this process so far?GORDON-REED: How many moving parts there are. So many different entities touch the lives of our students on a daily basis. I knew this, of course. But when something like this incident happens, something so out of the ordinary, you have to pause and go over every single relevant part of the system to see what worked and what could have worked better. It really hits you what a complicated mechanism this is. But we can’t let complexity keep us from progress. The most important thing is that we all learn from this event, and do everything we can to improve our collective practices, and hopefully our report will help us reach that goal.GAZETTE: So what’s next for the committee?GORDON-REED: Well, an important part of our charge was to carry out “broad levels of student engagement.” We see this as essential to our ability to get this right and make useful recommendations. Our targeted outreach over the summer was informative, but we need much more input than we could get when students were away from campus. So, we’re running focus groups at the start of the semester to get the input we need. The groups will largely consist of students, but we will also have a focus group for tutors and proctors, who live in the Houses and Yard dorms and have an important perspective on the undergraduate experience. Invitations to students to participate will be circulated by the deans of students at the Schools in the next few days.We also encourage people to write to us at [email protected] Once all this information has been collected, and we’ve been able to digest it, we’ll make recommendations to President Bacow. We had hoped to deliver recommendations before the start of the semester, but as we began to unpack all the questions inherent in this situation, it became very clear that more time was needed. It is more important to us that our recommendations reflect the insights of students and other members of the community. We look forward to learning from the focus-group conversations this fall.last_img read more

Trojans begin three-game homestand against TCU

first_imgAs the USC baseball team enters the final month of its baseball season 11 games under .500, it can at least feel good that it isn’t having the year Texas Christian is.Upswing · USC freshman outfielder Timmy Robinson (center) has had plenty to cheer about after his recently snapped 12-game hitting streak. – Joseph Chen | Daily TrojanTCU actually has a better record than USC this year. But while the youthful Trojans (16-27, 8-13) were expected to struggle, the Horned Frogs certainly were not. They started the season ranked No. 14 by Baseball America, fresh off a 2012 campaign that saw them come within two games of making the College World Series. But TCU comes to Dedeaux Field tonight  just 21-23 on the season and just 8-10 in the less-than-stellar Big 12 conference.The reason for the Horned Frogs’ woes is the team’s struggles at the plate. As a team, TCU is hitting just .242 this season and has 355 hits in 44 games. The main victim of poor run support has been No. 2 starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan, who has a 2.12 ERA this year but a stunning 0-6 record.“Their pitching numbers are just stupid,” USC head coach Dan Hubbs said. “[Finnegan] touches 95 [miles per hour] and he’s their second-best pitcher.”On the mound in game one for TCU will be Morrison Preston and his 1.31 ERA. USC will counter with junior ace Bob Wheatley, who has a 1.84 ERA — impressive in its own right.With the dominant pitching of TCU, runs will be at a premium all weekend. As such, added pressure will be put on USC’s pitching staff to limit the opportunities for the Horned Frogs. That might not sound too difficult against a team struggling at the plate the way TCU is, but that doesn’t mean Hubbs isn’t worried about it.“We cannot give up free bases,” Hubbs said. “We can’t afford to give them any extra opportunity.”Though TCU might struggle to create runs, USC has been prone to “gift” runs to its opponents, as Hubbs put it. The Trojans have given up at least 283 so-called “free bases” this year — 190 walks, 50 hit batsman and 43 errors. For comparison, USC’s opponents have given the Trojans 190 “free bases.”In the seventh inning alone of Tuesday’s 9-5 loss to Pepperdine, USC surrendered six runs (six unearned) as a result of three walks, two errors (including a passed ball), a hit batsman and a wild pitch.“It was disappointing,” Hubbs said of USC’s defense. “That’s a game that we should win.”All season, the Trojans have found themselves out of games that they should be in, including a memorable six-error afternoon against Oregon.“It’s tough to say what’s been going on,” USC junior infielder Kevin Swick said. “At a certain point, it becomes a lack of confidence, but I really don’t know what’s causing the problems. We’ve just got to be better and mentally stronger and figure it out.”With games this weekend expected to be close, low-scoring affairs, the Trojans cannot afford unforced errors. With only a handful of upperclassman pitching regularly for USC, the youthful pitching staff has been prone to bouts of major inconsistency and control issues — especially the bullpen.“Wheatley doesn’t walk a lot of guys,” Hubbs said. “And [Friday starter sophomore] Wyatt [Strahan] has had his issues but he’s been much better lately. So that will be good for us. The key will be the bullpen. We’re going to need to find some guys who can be consistent and reliable.”The same has been said all season, and not just about the bullpen. There is a lot of talent on this Trojan team, but not an awful lot of experience. And it takes both to win at this level.But a number players have made tremendous strides. Freshman outfielder Timmy Robinson, for example, has been the embodiment of this freshman class. Robinson started his year off 2-for-25 and batting .080. Before last weekend, he had a 12-game hitting streak and had raised his average to .248. The hitting streak ended at the hands of No. 5 Oregon State this past weekend, but the improvement hasn’t been lost.“If you look at Timmy at the beginning of the season, he just couldn’t figure it out,” Swick said. “But now he’s really catching on, which is great to see. There’s been improvement all around.”With the season more or less a lost cause for USC, the team’s focus has shifted to finishing this year on a strong note and building momentum for next year.“Coach Hubbs always says, ‘Get better a little bit every day,’” Swick said. “If we do that, it’s going to give us some momentum for next season.”As the 12-time national championship program closes in on its ninth non-winning season in the last 10 years, Hubbs reflected on the state of his program.“We’ve been talking as a team about the higher level of performance we need to have,” Hubbs said. “There’s a higher level of performance we have to maintain, or rather attain, to get the program back where it needs to be.”First pitch for tonight’s game at Dedeaux Field is scheduled for 6 p.m.last_img read more