New Person of Interest (POI) Policy

June 23, 2021

The following message was sent to members of the Harvard community by Executive Vice President Katie Lapp and Provost Alan Garber on June 23, 2021.

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

Harvard’s Person of Interest (POI) affiliation enables non-employee, non-student individuals to temporarily access the University’s digital and physical resources for administrative or scholarly purposes. Next month, as part of our continuing efforts to keep the University’s systems and data secure, we will implement two important administrative changes that will clarify and strengthen the University’s POI processes and make it easier for our community to create and manage POIs:

  1. A new University-wide policy to govern the approval and use of POI affiliations
  2. A new web-based administrative tool to standardize and simplify POI management across Schools and Units

We elaborate on each of these administrative changes below.

POI Policy


Effective July 15, 2021, the University’s new POI policy will apply to all individuals and groups that sponsor, create, approve, or manage POIs at Harvard. The policy is designed to govern:

  • Which POI role types are available

  • What types of access can be granted to these roles
  • Who can sponsor, create, approve, or manage POIs
  • What responsibilities these individuals assume when sponsoring, creating, approving, or managing POIs

A key process change in the policy requires that all requests to create and update POIs must be approved by an administrator. Some requests will require multiple levels of approval and supporting documentation.

The full policy and a summary of key points can be found here:

POI Portal


To support the implementation of the policy, Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) has developed the POI Portal tool to streamline POI creation, maintenance, and reporting. Launching on July 15, the POI Portal replaces paper forms and inconsistent manual processes with a web-based, user-friendly, HarvardKey-protected tool.

In the coming weeks, HUIT will provide instructions to all individuals who sponsor, create, approve, or manage POIs on how to take the required online training course, set up an account, and start using the POI Portal.

Next Steps


In advance of the policy effective date of July 15, HUIT is partnering with Local Implementation Managers at Schools and Units across the University to prepare for these changes, and to align existing POI roles to the new policy requirements.

These important changes to our POI processes were developed with extensive consultation with Schools and Units, including academic and HR representatives. Together, the policy and Portal will streamline POI administration while keeping our community secure.


Katie Lapp
Executive Vice President

Alan M. Garber