What I am pretty sure of is that the dynamic would be different if Harvard was more personally integrated into the neighborhood where it owns so much property. Omar Blaik describes it well in this interview with ArchitectureBoston from earlier this year:
"Trust started to take root when the boundaries between the institution and the neighborhood dissolved, when people like me, who were administrators at Penn, moved into the neighborhood. For the first time, administrators would arrive at the campus, not by driving off the highway from the very rich suburbs at the front yard of the campus, but by biking or walking from the neighborhood that was at the time the back side of the campus. With this kind of fluidity between the neighborhood and the institution, a lot of problems get solved without having to create a committee, without having to issue one executive order or another."
But when administrators and deans and vice presidents live in the neighborhood, you can’t criticize them as much because their kids go to the same school as your kids, and they have soccer practice together. Suddenly those relationships become more human — they are no longer institution versus neighborhood."
Rat beef with Harvard gnaws on neighbors - BostonHerald.com