Admissions hears few safety concerns

by Alexandra Friedman | 2/7/01 6:00am

The Admissions Office has not received many calls from prospective students worrying about campus safety in light of the Zantop tragedy, Dean of Dartmouth Admissions Karl Furstenberg said.

In fact, Frustenberg said the calls he has received are even fewer than what he had initially expected to receive in the wake of the double homicide of Susanne and Half Zantop " two professors at the College.

"The people we have heard from have generally called to offer condolences and sympathy," he said. "We have already admitted 377 students Early Decision, and that group is still very solid. I haven't heard from anybody saying they are nervous."

Furstenberg is unsure as to whether there will be a drop in matriculation next fall because of the tragedy but suggested that increased curiosity and concern might be a consequence of the recent events.

"I'm sure that more people will ask questions about issues of safety on campus," he said. "But Dartmouth has a very good record in that respect, and I don't think [the murders] would change anybody's decision ... or deter people."

Furstenberg suggested that one reason for the lack of concern among applicants is that the American public "might be getting used to tragedy."

Although a terrible occurrence, he does not think that "this is so extraordinarily unusual," due to the abundance of such tragedies in the media, he said.

How this misfortune will affect the image of Dartmouth College is a question revolving around the minds of at least some students.

In response to this concern, Furstenberg said that it is difficult to predict whether or not the tragedy will have a lasting effect on Dartmouth admissions.

"I don't have any speculation about [the effect on future admissions] ... One of the big issues is that there are still a lot of unanswered questions," he said.

"I am reserving judgement until we see how it all plays out; depending on the circumstances, I think there will be different reactions," he continued.

Dartmouth, as opposed to other, larger Ivy League colleges, has always been known for the small-campus feeling of security.

Furstenberg said he has no doubt that Dartmouth will continue to be known for its safe location and friendly atmosphere, and pointed out that although some may be more wary of security on campus, "the location is still a more safe campus compared to other places we compete with."

Tours have slowed down because of the time of year and weather conditions. Due to the lack of tours, there has not been much concern about how to respond to inquisitive prospective students and families, Furstenberg said.

The tour-guides, who have recently only received a handful of visitors each day, are prepared to respond to the murders "in a thoughtful way," Furstenberg said.

"Some people ask about it in a general way, and most people have been quite sensitive and thoughtful, knowing that we still are trying to fathom the reality and sadness [of the recent events]," he continued.

In the wake of the Zantop murders, it is hard to make any judgements from the Admissions Office perspective, Furstenberg said, because the events are "still so fresh in our minds ... All of us are still trying to comprehend the tragedy and its impact upon the community."