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Colleges, Boston Police Discuss Students’ Safety

By Marissa Vogt

NEWS EDITOR

Student leaders and administrators from Boston area colleges met with the Boston Police Department last night to discuss the Operation Student Shield initiative launched in early January.

The initiative is a partnership between the Boston Police and college administrators with the idea of improving on and off-campus safety by increasing communication between the groups.

Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole said that the department is trying to get involved in college housing fairs, orientations, and student meetings to promote safety and improve student quality of life. Each institution has identified a liaison with the Boston Police within its administration, she said, and some administrators are participating in “ride-alongs” where they assist the police in responding to complaints.

O’Toole said that it is “important to keep the dialogue open” about “challenges we will face, not just on Super Bowl Sunday, but over the course of the year.” She said that as part of Operation Student Shield, the department wants to encourage collaboration and “enforce as a last resort.”

Undergraduate Association President Harel M. Williams ’05 and Interfraternity Council President Christopher P. Child ’06 represented the MIT student body at the meeting. Associate Dean for Student Life Programs Barbara A. Baker and Detective Sergeant Mary Beth Riley were also present.

Operation Student Shield is led by Boston Police Captain William Evans, who was not present at the meeting last night.

Safety a priority for Super Bowl

Much of the discussion centered on the riots that followed last year’s Red Sox and Patriots victories and how to increase safety for celebrations following the Super Bowl.

O’Toole said that every available Boston Police officer will be working on Sunday night, and they will be collaborating with the Massachusetts State Police and Campus Police from the local colleges and universities.

Boston Police Captain Robert M. Flaherty, whose district includes the Kenmore Square area, asked the student representatives to impress upon their constituents that they should not go to Kenmore Square on Sunday evening. “It’s not in [student’s] best interests,” he said.

Baker said that the office of Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict will be providing funds for food to dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups.

“Our focus really is for students to provide awareness about safety,” Baker said. She also said that alternative events will be encouraged.