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Nightline Phony Harasses Students

By Fenny Lin
Staff reporter

A number of students filed complaints with Campus Police last week concerning harassing phone calls from a male identifying himself as a staff member of Nightline, MIT's confidential peer listening group.

Campus Police got the earliest report of such calls last Wednesday, said Chief of Police Anne P. Glavin. In all, ten such incidents have been reported.

While police do not have evidence pinpointing the caller's identity, they believe that a single individual is responsible for impersonating Nightline. No particular group is being targeted for these calls, Glavin said.

The complaints are still under investigation, Glavin said. "We encourage people who get called to let us know. It's hard when people don't come forward with their information."

"We were definitely very concerned about it and wanted to respond to it directly," said one of this year's Nightline coordinators, who requested not to be identified so as to preserve the anonymity associated with the group.

Prank caller disturbs students

Jessica A. Walko '97 received one of these anonymous calls at 4 o'clock in the morning last week. The call lasted about two minutes, during which the caller said that he was concerned that she was having academic problems.

"I didn't feel really threatened, it was just strange," Walko said.

According to student reports, the caller had attempted to acquire information about the students' personal relationships, academic problems, and emotional and mental states.

Nightline is a volunteer peer listening group run entirely by students, the coordinator said. It maintains strict confidentiality of all calls made by students to discuss their problems, and its staffers never call students, the coordinator said.

Any student receiving a call from someone claiming to be from Nightline should file a report with the Campus Police, Glavin said. They are suggesting that people not tell the caller any personal information.

Anyone with information about the harassing phone caller can contact the Campus Police Special Services Unit at x8-9721 or x8-9723.