Lewis: Statement Was Misunderstood
TO THE EDITORS
In reference to Ms. Dunlop's letter (see left), I should like to be absolutely clear that I do not blame the victim of the Tuesday incident for what happened to her. My immediate reaction upon learning of the assault was of concern for the victim and outrage towards the assailant. The rhetorical question quoted in the article-not a response given in an interview, but one sentence selected from many things I and others said during an extended discussion of safety in a meeting of the Committee on House Life--was meant precisely to state that I did not know what else the victim might have done to protect herself, except perhaps to be accompanied.
I certainly understand that that is not always convenient or even possible. This part of the discussion came in the context of talking about other measures that were being implemented by Harvard, for example the creation of a new HUPD substation in the basement of Weld and changes in patrols.
As soon as I learned of the assault, I started to work to ensure that the victim would receive every support from the College. I strongly hope that the assailant will be apprehended and have lent my support to the police in their attempts to identify him--for example, by seeing to it that notice of an HUPD advisory describing the assailant is presented to all students as they log in to the FAS computer systems. Over the days since the assault, I have continuously monitored the College's response and support to the victim, and am relieved by the reports of her progress.
I should add that I think part of Ms Dunlop's misunderstanding of my feelings about this event may be the result of editing in the Crimson story that reported it. Two quite separate safety matters were raised in that meeting, the intrusions in Matthews and the assault near Adams House. What is described just before the quotation from me as my frustration at "low rates of safety precautions" (not my words) had nothing to do with the discussion of the assault, but had only to do with the fact that the intrusions into student suites in Matthews Hall were through doors that students had left unlocked. -Harry R. Lewis '68, Dean of Harvard College