Thursday, February 24, 2011

Harvard's Asbestos Cleanup, Without Notice

A memo from Harvard Real Estate Services (HRES) to tenants of 85 Prescott Street dated February 23, 2011 states HRES

"has commenced renovations to the common areas within your building and will be removing the common area floor at your unit entry on [Monday] February 28, 2011. You will not be able to enter or exit your unit for the entire working day on [Monday] February 28, 2011. You are welcome to remain within your unit during the work (8am to 5pm) or you will need to remain outside your unit during that period. Alternative accommodations can be made for you upon request to Harvard Mitigation at (617) 496-0857."

The alternative accommodations are to sit in a "lounge" which is a small apartment which Harvard took off the market contrary to an agreement with the City of Cambridge. If what they are doing is safe and legal why did they not inform the tenants that they were removing asbestos from the floors? In case of an emergency a person caught in his own apartment might be exposed to a lethal dose of asbestos fumes. Even with no emergency the cover of the door to the unit may be flawed and cause the same result. Finally why did Harvard not permit its tenants mostly students, faculty and staff to make their own decisions about remaining with a hazardous operation going on outside of their door. This is one more example of the lack of respect Harvard shows for its students and tenants. They have no shame which is a pervasive problem among the leadership of the nation, the state and the city. Harvard surely leads the way downward.
City desk editor at Boston Herald asked if it was legal. My reply was what difference does it make? Why should anyone be exposed to it even if it is legal?

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