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The staff argues that the Freshmen Dean's Office should reserve a substantial part of orientation week for the discussion of serious issues facing Harvard students.
While the idea of heightening first-years' awareness of such important topics as date rape and racism during this week (or two weeks) is commendable, it is at best ineffective and at worst counterproductive. Orientation week is a time for introductions, freedom and sweaty palms. Orientation week is a lot more like summer camp than it is like college.
These students are bombarded with real social challenges of living away from home, being independent and being at "Harvard." Some students deal with this transition by becoming social butterflies, some become hermits, but for all it is a traumatic time.
If we inject serious issues into this already traumatic time, we won't be giving the issues or the students a fair chance for open discussion. Save the serious stuff until college really starts. Then students will be in a more receptive mood and real progress is more likely to be made.
Thoughtful discussion of important issues can only occur when students realize that they are not at summer camp but actually at Harvard--a diverse and sometimes troubled community.
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