College Revamps Security in Harvard Yard In Wake of Alleged Rape of Freshman Woman

The University will step up security precautions in the Yard, in the wake of the alleged rape last month of a female freshman in her dorm room, University officials said yesterday.

The changes, which include placing emergency telephones marked by a blue light at Canaday Hall, were recommended by the University Security Committee, which reviewed yard safety following the January 9 incident.

Some of the changes, however, have been in the works for at least a year, Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III, who is the chairman of the security committee, said yesterday.

The alleged rape sped discussion and implementation of the security modifications, Epps explained, but added that the panel did not make the changes with "specific references" to the incident.

The committee based some of its discussions, however, on the recommendations of three freshmen women who volunteered to accompany committee members on a walking tour of the Yard, Epps said.

Among the changes suggested by the committee is a plan to paint the gray Centrex phones in the Yard a brighter color "to call attention to themselves, "Epps said, adding that some of them will be marked with lights to make them more visible.

In addition, a pamphlet on rape prevention, originally scheduled for publication at the end of the spring term, will be distributed within the next three weeks, Epps said.

The committee is also conducting an annual inspection of the buildings and grounds in the College area to identify any inoperative lights or doors that do not lock properly.

Epps said that although the committee was primarily concerned with security in the Yard, it is also considering upgrading safety measures at the upperclass Houses and in the Quad.

The freshman was allegedly raped on the evening of January 9 by two 15-year-old males she knew, according to University police. The suspects, who police said forced the woman into a back room, were charged with rape, kidnapping, and armed burglary. Police also charged one of the men with theft.

This was the first such incident since 1980, when a sophomore woman was raped in the shrubs along Shepard St. in front of Hilles.

Although the seriousness of the charges led to speculation that the youths would be tried as adults, an official in the Middlesex Country District Attorney's office said yesterday that the suspects will be treated as juveniles, which means the proceedings, including the date of the trial, will be kept confidential.

The names of both the victim and the suspects were not released by the police.

Motherly Advice

Epps said students should realize that "Cambridge is not a safe area." Residents should not allow strangers into their Houses and should lock doors both to rooms and entryways, Epps added.

Students also should exercise caution when walking unaccompanied at night and should make use of escort services and should buses, Epps recommended.