FDO Will Introduce Security Programs to Prevent Crime

In response to the recommendation of the Undergraduate Council, the Freshman Dean's Office said yesterday that it would introduce a security "fair" later in the spring for firstyear students and a mandatory security programming next fall for the incoming first-year class.

In an e-mail message yesterday, Dean of Freshman Elizabeth S. Nathans said that the FDO "will implement enhanced personal, facility and group security awareness programming" for first-year students this spring.

First-year students this year will be able to stop by the Rotunda of the Freshman Union sometime this spring to learn about security in a setup similar to last fall's Concentration Fair, Nathans said.

Although the "precise format" of the fall programming is up in the air, Nathans said that Orientation Week's proctor meetings "can and will" include discussions about security. The FDO aims to have other small group meetings later in the year to reinforce the lessons of the first meetings.

First-years already receive a pamphlet on security entitled "Playing It Safe" and a lecture about security given by their proctors during the initial proctor meetings.


Police Chief Paul E. Johnson and council members agree that security programming of some kind could be very effective in preventing crime in the Yard.

Johnson said that security education would especially benefit students who come from more sheltered environments where security is not so much a concern. "[They think] they're in a utopia....You can't be totally oblivious to your surroundings."

"It's better to have them notified about [security], especially those who have never lived in a city," council representative Joseph S. Evangelista '96 said.

Other schools already have similar programs. Yale has its own police officers educate first-year students during their orientation period, the Yale public affairs office said.

Nathan's tentative initiatives are in response to an Undergraduate Council proposal overwhelmingly passed last December, providing for security education for first-years in which Harvard University police officers would teach students about security measures.

The proposal, sponsored by council representatives Elizabeth A. Haynes '98 and N. Van Taylor '96-'95, calls for three mandatory meetings for first-years: one during Orientation Week and two follow-ups later in the fall.

Under the original proposal, a police officer would educate students of each proctor group about security measures on campus and in the city as part of the initial proctor meetings during Orientation Week. In the two subsequent meetings, police officers would follow up on students' concerns and reinforce the lessons.

Nathans said she did not know if police officers would teach the meetings because the FDO, Harvard University Police Department and the Freshman Caucus of the Undergraduate Council were still "discuss[ing] alternatives."

But some council members say they are distressed over a perceived lack of sensitivity to their concerns. Council members say that the FDO has previously waffled on the issue of having these security meetings, and that they are not sure the initiatives will happen.

The council's proposal was passed overwhelmingly in December. On December 20, Taylor sent a letter to the FDO outlining the council's proposal.