New Campus Phones, Lights Improve Safety

There are 47 more reasons to feel safer the next time you're in Harvard Yard.

Since discussions began two years ago, 39 new lights have been added around the area of the Yard, in addition to eight new emergency phones, University officials said.

According to Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III, the new phones have been installed in response to concerns "primarily over safety."

In conjunction with the new emergency phones and lights, the Yard's old lights have been updated as well, according to Manager of Harvard Yard Muerle Bicknell.

Bicknell said the improvements are also partly in response to the suggestions of Harvard students. She said students waiting for the shuttle bus were complaining about not being able to call shuttle services from Johnston Gate.


"We put the Johnston Gate phone there with the shuttle bus phone number right on it so that students could check on the status of the shuttle bus," Bicknell said.

Epps said there were plans to expand the lighting to areas outside the limits of the Yard, but that the specific locations would be left to the discretion of Harvard's Facilities Maintenance Organization.

In addition to safety concerns, Epps said the University wanted to standardize the emergency phone installations.

"We wanted modern equipment and also the same equipment through-out the campus so that if you got accustomed to using it in one place you could use that same skill else-where," he said.

Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) spokesperson Peggy McNamara said the HUPD has not yet studied the effects, if any, the new lights will have on crime in the Yard.

She said such a study may be done by Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Bicknell said the changes are part of the annual improvements to the Yard which are to continue indefinitely. The next step, she said, will be to decide where else phones could be added.

She also said the newly installed lights are of improved quality, giving off as much as six times the amount of light as the old lights did.

"Obviously we don't want the Yard to look like a baseball stadium," she said. "But we do want to make sure that the...paths are well lit.