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New Orientation Week Meeting to Focus On Social Issues in Addition to Plagiarism

By E.k. Anagnostopoulos

College administrators plan to cut back their discussion of academic honesty at a mandatory meeting for first-year students next fall to make time for a broader discussion of social and ethical issues at Harvard.

While a one-hour discussion of plagiarism is still planned for Orientation Week, Dean of First-Year Students Henry C. Moses said yesterday that the College now plans to hold an additional one-hour meeting.

Under the new format, Moses said, College officials will devote approximately 10 minutes to each of the issues raised at the second meeting--including race and gender relations, alcohol, drugs and the role of the Administrative Board.

'Whole Range'

"[The meeting] will discuss briefly a whole range of topics so that freshmen know that these topics are important for us and we have clear attitudes about what is acceptable and what isn't," said Moses.

Earlier this month, several students collected more than 100 signatures on a petition calling on the College to make a mandatory date rape workshop part of the orientation week.

But while administrators agreed to mention date rape in the mandatory meeting, in a letter to the petition signers they stopped short of meeting their demand for a required workshop.

"We feel strongly that mandatory workshops are not practicable," the letter said. "The precedent set from the perspective of other groups also working on critical issues...would put all of us--administrators and students--in an impossible situation."

"There is a tendency for people to see Freshman Week as a time to teach people about everything," said Janet A. Viggiani, assistant dean for coeducation and principal author of the official response. Rather than focusing on a single problem, the College attempts to introduce students to "a whole range of issues," she said.

Moses said that the changed format was "not a direct response to some particular requests from a particular group or a particular set of events, but my own notion that the meeting could be made more useful to freshmen."

In its original form, the meeting was designed to "prevent confusion among freshmen about academic honesty," said Moses, adding that the program had been highly successful since its inception in the fall of 1988. "The number of cases of plagarism in the College went down immediately," he said.

Moses said that he and Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 will lead this year's meetings, replacing Richard Marius, the director of the Expository Writing Program.

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