Students surprised by weekend's events; College administration beefs up security

by Charles Gardner | 11/12/01 6:00am

Students reacted with surprise and shock to the news of the assault of two female students in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The two attacks -- likely committed by a single perpetrator -- raised questions both about the perceived safety of Dartmouth's campus and the need for enhanced security measures to better protect students.

"I was pretty shocked, and appalled," Neel Shah '05 said, echoing the sentiments of many students who spoke to The Dartmouth. "It makes you more aware that just because you are in a rural school, you're not necessarily exempt from this sort of thing."

"My first reaction was that we take safety in Hanover for granted," Thalia Pascalides '03 said. "I will definitely be more cautious walking around late at night."

Dean of the College James Larimore said the administration has increased campus patrols of both Safety and Security as well as Hanover Police.

"We've been working in cooperation with the police to increase the security presence," Larimore said. "Students shouldn't be surprised to see Safety and Security more often, with the police assisting with patrols."

"We've increased our vigilance in several areas," College Proctor Bob McEwen said. "Beyond the crime alert, we put out the blitz bulletin alert to notify folks. We have a standing memo at dispatch that anybody who calls for an escort, we will give a ride," he said.

Still, most students that spoke to The Dartmouth said they had learned of the attacks neither through Safety and Security's blitz (e-mail) bulletin nor from the alerts posted throughout campus, but from an all-school message sent out Saturday by Student Assembly. Others first heard the news through personal e-mails forwarded by friends.

"I just wish Safety and Security had blitzed out," Laura Ferrel '04 said, whose own blitzmail message on the incident, initially sent out to a select group of friends, was later -- through forwarding -- responsible for breaking the news to many students.

"It shouldn't have been a student blitz that let people know about this," she said.

Larimore also stressed the need for proper information as a critical component of ensuring safety on campus.

"At this point we haven't yet planned a public response, but we will keep people informed through Blitz bulletins and other means. I do think I would encourage students to stay informed," he said.

While most students praised the work of Safety and Security, they saw the need for added security on campus. Natalie Adams '03, an undergraduate advisor at the Lodge, thought that its location -- which is somewhat isolated from other residential buildings on campus, and which has no emergency "blue light" nearby -- was a safety drawback.

Both Larimore and McEwen emphasized conscientious and responsible behavior in offering advice to students.

Students should "be aware of their surroundings, exercise common sense, walk with a friend [and] call for rides if they need a ride," McEwen said.