Harvard University Security, Parking and Museum Guards Union
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June 22,2003

Dear Sir or Madam:

We are writing in reference to the proposed changes in house-based security guards. As a couple, we have been Mather House resident tutors for the past three years, and will be continuing our involvement at Mather over the coming years as non-resident tutors.

We recognize that periodic reviews of university systems are valuable and important. However, the implementation of any changes in our system will undoubtedly affect the tenure of our house security guard, William Duarte, in a way that might deprive our house of one of its most valuable assets. The review of the house-based security systems cannot be divorced from this impact, and we urge you to strongly consider the individual contributions and value to our community in retaining William Duarte in his current role.

Billy, as he his known to the house staff and students, is deeply committed to his job and does it incredibly well. His primary strengths in his job performance are in prevention and in the maintenance of a healthy, respectful community. Billy knows possibly all four-hundred or so students by name. He walks through the hallways often, to monitor the environment and communicate his expectations to the students, He is especially helpful in keeping the house rules enforced during parties. This effort is in collaboration with the house tutors at Mather, and Billy is serious and helpful during these times. His role in preventing a situation from escalating may be difficult to appreciate by outsiders, since his success is measured in a non-event. However, these successes are frequent and are appreciated by all who live in the house and understand the contribution that he makes. His preventative role is enabled by his well-established connections with the student body and the house staff.

In addition, Billy's deep commitment to his job at Mather has tangible outcomes. While his official working hours end at 12:30am, Billy always stays till at least 1am if there is a party that a tutor might need help in shutting down. Billy's assistance in enforcing this difficult rule affects both the house community and our surrounding neighborhood. There is a noticeable difference between the nights that Billy works and the nights that a substitute is present, in both the after-hours commitment and in the level of involvement. Billy is effective, he is dedicated, and he contributes enormously to the positive environment of the house.

Billy's work for Mather House is incredibly valuable, and we hope we have communicated a fraction of its importance. Any changes, systemic or otherwise, that would result in a change of Billy's presence in our community, should be avoided furiously. We know that you are part of a review and hope that you will consider what is best for our community. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss this further. Thank you very much.

Amy E. D., PhD
J. Carl P., MD, MPH
Mather House Tutors

Site Editor: Howard Reid
Last updated 10/01/2003.  Published by the Harvard University Security, Parking and Museum Guards Union.