Harvard University provides its students, faculty, and staff with a Harvard identification card that affords access to numerous activities and locations on campus. These cards allow entry into University buildings, offices, and parking facilities. In addition, they allow employee and student identification for business transactions on campus and the ability to attend events that may be open only to the Harvard community, including Spring Fest, Head of the Charles events, university athletic competitions, and certain speaking events.

With a community of more than 20,000 students and 30,000 faculty and staff, identification cards serve as a readily available and positive means of identifying ourselves as members of the Harvard community. All members of the University community are responsible for having their Harvard University identification cards available whenever present on University property. Harvard University identification cards are the property of Harvard University, intended for University purposes only, and are not transferable. Community members are responsible for their identification card and for the consequences of its misuse. Lost or stolen cards should be reported immediately to the Campus Service Center at www.huid.harvard.edu or by calling 617-496-7827.

At various moments during your time at Harvard, you may be asked to show your Harvard identification card. All students and employees of the University must present a valid Harvard University identification card at the request of any properly identified University official.

Reasons your card may be requested include:

  • Access to areas on campus that are normally closed or locked;
  • For identification purposes after hours or on holidays or weekends when parts of the University are typically not open for business;
  • For identification purposes in an emergency, medical or otherwise;
  • Whenever it is necessary to ascertain whether a person is a member of the University community or an authorized visitor;
  • If needed to memorialize an event in, for example, the Harvard University Police Department’s record management system;
  • Whenever someone is on University property in possible violation of University regulations or an HUPD officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime has been, is in the process of being, or is about to be committed.

University identification may not be requested based solely upon race, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender presentation, age, dress, or unusual or disheveled or impoverished appearance, in the absence of listed characteristics in a specific description or without some other indicator that the person is related in some way to criminal activity or a threat to the University community.

It is important for everyone to recognize that a request for identification may at times result in a certain amount of inconvenience, or even embarrassment, and a request for identification alone may raise questions or heighten emotions. All University officials should effectively communicate the reasons for any individualized identification card request during the encounter. In addition, officials requesting identification should also be prepared to present their own identification.