As a long-time student of the depredations of out-of-touch bureaucracies, and also of the abuses of power exercised by administrators of academic institutions, I have a pretty clear sense of where the essential problem of the Prouty Garden affair lies. Hospital administrators, closely tied to academic administrators at a “Harvard teaching hospital,” have made a decision that will increase their fiefdom, their degree of control, their budgets, and their numbers. Expansion is the name of the game, even if the expansion is not well thought-through and might in fact be deleterious to a whole range of values, including public health. It is difficult, if not impossible, for the hospital’s administrators to understand why their grandiose plans, aimed to attract wealthy “customers” from Europe, South America and the Middle East, might be deleterious in the long run for the health of the hospital’s patient population who over many years have benefitted from the therapeutic qualities of the Prouty Garden. The big question we face now is whether the bureaucrats can be stopped in their destructive path and forced to re-evaluate their grand plan. I hope so.
Harvey A. Silverglate
Longtime Cambridge resident
Criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer and writer