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The Time to Act Is Now



URBAN COLLEGE CAMPUSES have never been the safest environments. Thousands of people needing round-the-clock access to a lot of scattered buildings in a city is a security guard's nightmare. There will probably always be a problem with safety. But Harvard is finally making a real effort to improve the situation.

In the fall of 1989, Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III formed the Special Committee on Security at the request of the Women's Alliance and the Undergraduate Council. Last week, the committee issued its final report, calling for a series of improvements in security measures. Its recommendations--while not comprehensive--are a step in the right direction, and should be implemented immediately.

AMONG the committee's recommendations is a plan to designate pathways around campus that would be well lit and frequently patrolled by the police at night. All Centrex phones would be converted to speakerphones with emergency buttons. And police officers would begin to patrol the Yard, Quad and River by foot during their 4:00 p.m. to midnight shifts. Unfortunately, the committee's plans do not really address the problem of how to protect students after midnight, but they are a good start.

The committee also calls for better use of the escort service, saying students should wait in secure areas for the car to arrive. True, students must accept some responsibility for their own safety. But there is a lot the administration can do to help them. The addition of a second escort car, for example, is badly needed: Many students are too impatient to wait outrageous lengths of time for the car, and instead walk home alone. A second car would help the late-night escort meet the real demand for its services.

The Security Committee has fulfilled its duties. Now, it is up to the administration to do its part to make the University safer. The true test of its concern will be the promptness with which it implements these changes.

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