27 Year Old Man lives in Harvard Freshman Yard Dorm for 2 Months
The Harvard Independent, then the Harvard Crimson, have reported the story of 27 year old Abe Liu, a North Carolina State drop-out, who enrolled at the Harvard Extension School for classes, then befriended Harvard college freshman on the Facebook class of '15 site, and eventually lived with them in Weld dorm in the Yard.
There are mixed reports about whether he stole a freshman ID and had swipe access, or simply asked others to swipe him into Yard buildings. The ID he used did past muster with the Yard guards stationed to protect Yard Occupiers. Questions are also arising as to why the dorm proctors did not react to his presence in the freshman residential hall.
If he did steal an ID, it wouldn't get him access to buildings since when someone gets a new ID (as presumably the victim of the theft did), his/her old ID gets deactivated. It would let him get past Yard security only.
A lot of people seem to be blaming the administration for this, ala "how could this happen? What about our safety?" It's quite implausible that anyone in the administration would ever find out that some kid is impersonating a Harvard student unless a student brings it to their attention. Apparently these Weld students never did. I don't think the proctor's really at fault either...I mean I don't know the details but it would be quite hard to distinguish this impersonation ploy from simply a good friend, boyfriend, etc. spending a few nights over in Weld.
One report suggests the student who lost his ID never reported it missing, thus the swipe card still worked. If so, bad form by the student.
I agree that the impersonator apparently blended in well with the students and their friends, however I do question whether two months of dorm life can be labeled 'a few nights'.
The proctor could have asked a few discrete questions around the dorm to determine if he was a boyfriend, or short term guest. There seems to be a total laissez-faire attitude by the proctors until alcohol or drugs surface. One assumes this incident will raise awareness, and training, for the proctors.
At least in the Crimson article, it seems clear that he didn't have an ID, and that he didn't come close to spending every night in Weld. The whole thing seems like a bizarre non-story. Extension Student Hangs Out With Real Harvard Students! Quelle horreur!
The entire ordeal was blown way out of proportion. The independent did a terrible job in reporting it and was quite irresponsible in that it published a lot of rumors and gossip rather than objective facts. As someone who did know Abe personally, and knew of his extension school status, I can vouch for his non-threatening (endearing even) manner. Did he lie, yes. Is that wrong, yes. Was it an issue of security. Not at all.
The freshman dean sent out this email earlier yesterday:
Dear Members of the Class of 2015:
As many of you may know, an article was published in the Crimson this morning about an individual who was recently asked to leave Weld Hall; the article can be found here. A number of freshmen have expressed concerns about this situation and I felt it was important to be in touch with you directly.
Last week, the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) was asked to investigate an individual in a room in Weld Hall. HUPD discovered that the individual was enrolled at the Harvard Extension School, and therefore was permitted access to the Yard. He had been invited into the dorm with the permission of his hosts, to whom he had misrepresented his age and status on campus. He now has been instructed not to access any of the College's residential facilities, including Weld Hall and the other freshmen dorms. HUPD is continuing to investigate.
I hope this is helpful and you are finishing your first term in strong fashion.