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Harvard on Ashley Judd: Don't ask, don't tell

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ashley.jpg

If you happen to see Ashley Judd wandering the halls at Harvard, approach at your own peril. The B-list actress, who just enrolled in the Kennedy School’s Mid-Career Master in Public Administration program, asked officials to take additional measures to ensure her privacy while studying at the World’s Greatest University. And the school, not surprisingly, complied. Program director Robin Engel this week sent an e-mail to colleagues detailing the precautions, and it’s safe to say Judd (inset) will not be reprising Rodney Dangerfield’s role in ‘‘Back to School.’’ First, the registrar has put a privacy block on Judd’s file, which means no information about the actress will be available to the public. (Without such a block, a student’s name, program, degree received, and dates of attendance are open to anyone who asks for it.) Officials also arranged to have Harvard police present during the program’s coffee breaks in case a member of the media or public shows up and wants to talk about, say, Judd’s performance as a police inspector in the mediocre 2004 movie ‘‘Twisted.’’ Engel encourages everyone at Harvard to play dumb should someone start asking questions about Judd: ‘‘Simply turn the line of questioning back on them by asking who they are and what the purpose is of their query and contact security immediately to have them escorted off the premises if they are here inappropriately.’’ Finally, Engel says all media calls should be directed to Judd’s publicist in Los Angeles, Cara Trippichio. We tried that today, wondering whether Judd, a 1990 University of Kentucky grad whose husband is the handsome Scottish race car driver Dario Franchitti, might have a minute to talk about college life. No luck. ‘‘Thank you for your e-mail,’’ replied the publicist, ‘‘however we are declining this request.’’ (Engel also declined to talk to us today.) Harvard is not alone in hosting celebrity students, of course. Brown University is expected to be welcoming ‘‘Harry Potter’’ actress Emma Watson, who’s far more popular with the paparazzi than Ashley Judd. Without confirming that Watson — a.k.a. Hermione Granger — is actually attending Brown this fall, Mark Nickel, the school’s director of communications, did tell us, ‘‘We do whatever we need to do to ensure safety and privacy, and that applies pretty much to all students.’’ Asked if the school might take extra precautions to protect a young wizard, he responded, ‘‘Sure.’’

About this blog

This blog features the latest local and national celebrity news from The Boston Globe's Names column team. Check back for the latest updates.
Mark Shanahan joined The Boston Globe in 2003, having worked previously at the Portland Press Herald, where he covered City Hall, and the Lewiston Sun-Journal, where he was the education reporter. A Northampton native and graduate of Bates College, Shanahan enjoys the usual - books, music, movies, etc. - as well as the unusual.
shanahan@globe.com
Follow on Twitter: @GlobeNames, @MarkAShanahan
Meredith Goldstein has worked for the Globe since 2003, covering everything from nightlife to New Kids. She keeps her eyes peeled for celebrity juice, and also writes Love Letters, a Boston.com blog for hopeful (and hopeless) romantics. Meredith chats about love problems every Wednesday at 1 p.m. If you see Justin Timberlake or someone like him at a local eatery, please e-mail her immediately. mgoldstein@globe.com
Follow on Twitter: @GlobeNames, @MeredithGoldste

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