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Committee To Raise Safety Awareness

By Robin M. Peguero, Crimson Staff Writer

This March, Undergraduate Council (UC) President Matthew J. Glazer ’06 will be making house calls, and not because he’s campaigning.

Glazer, and several other UC members, will roam the halls of campus residences and test doorknobs to check whether they are unlocked. They will not actually open doors or enter rooms.

Safety-conscious students, or those whose doors are locked, will receive congratulatory notes slipped under their doors, while those failing the randomly assigned spot checks will be greeted with cautionary notes.

“We’re not going to put a sign on the door and say ‘you’re not in and your door is unlocked,’” Glazer said.

The program, sponsored by the College Safety Committee (CSC) and the UC, is part of a series of safety-themed months this spring, with March billed as “lock-your-door” month.

“Our lock-your-doors campaign will hopefully be a wake-up call that will make students realize that ‘Hey, some strange person could have walked right in and stolen my computer,’” Jane J. Fang ’08 wrote in an e-mail. Fang is a UC member and sits on the committee, which includes students, administrators, and police officers.

February marked the launch of the themed safety months with Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) officers registering student laptops in the dining halls of Quincy, Currier, Dunster, and Winthrop.

April has been designated “no-piggybacking” month, when CSC will aim to increase awareness among students about allowing strangers to enter the building behind them.

“We don’t want students to challenge people who might be a threat,” Glazer said. “What we are encouraging students to do is ask people to show I.D., just to make sure the people coming in are students or members of the Harvard community.”

UC Student Affairs Committee Chair Aaron D. Chadbourne ’06 said the committee does not want students to deny access to other members of the Harvard community who do not have their swipe cards in hand.

He added that the committee did not want to turn students into vigilante enforcers of the swipe card policy.

“You can envision a situation where it might not be the safest idea to approach or encounter someone,” Chadbourne said. “We don’t want to turn students into HUPD or a security force all of a sudden, but we do want them to be more aware.”

The committee also discussed extending a designated pathway, or a well-lit path that the committee has deemed safe, to the shortcut students use on the south side of Harvard Street to access the Union dorms. A freshman was robbed at gunpoint outside Pennypacker Hall last November, a month after an indecent assault in the same area.

“It is in response to those indecent assaults and I think we’ve made some progress,” Glazer said.

But first among the committee’s goals is to simply increase awareness that such a committee even exists.

“We have experts in HUPD, Physical Resources, Allied Security and others in the College that we rely on for professional prevention and response,” wrote Associate Dean of the College Judith H. Kidd, who chairs CSC, in an e-mail. “What we want is for the Committee to facilitate an even more responsive two-way communication channel with and for students.”

KEY PLAYERS

Associate Dean Judith H. Kidd

-Chair of the Safety Committee

-Time on Committee: Three Semesters

-“My biggest concern is to improve the flow of information between undergraduates and the committee. We want undergradates to know that they have five student representatives on the committee who are there to represent their concerns.”

Chief Francis “Bud” Riley

-Director of Police and Security and Chief of Police

-Time on Committee: Three Semesters

-“We want to inccrease awareness of crime on campus without generating unnecessary fear. On the flip side, we don’t want people to become too complacent either. It’s a tightrope we have to walk. The more information we can provide to the community, the more effective we can be.”

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