President Stenger Outlines Safety InitiativesPosted: Updated:
To the Campus Community,
As we take time to process and reflect on the past few weeks, my staff has begun an immediate review of our safety policies and procedures to ensure everyone in our community can feel secure. We've already made progress on ways to further improve our campus safety. In addition, we are addressing other factors beyond just physical changes to our campus infrastructure. As such, I have directed staff to thoroughly review and seek ways to improve our approach to student mental health, conflict resolution and interpersonal violence aspects as well.
To do all this, I have created four teams to begin focusing on different priorities: Safety and Security, Counseling/Student Support, Student Engagement and Communications. These teams are working now to develop effective strategies for positive change. Below are some initiatives that they have identified for immediate change. In the coming weeks and over the summer they will discover and implement more.
Below are some initiatives that we have identified as just our first steps in this process:
• The Alertus Enhanced Notification System will be installed. This system will give us the ability to notify people of an emergency within a few minutes through our B-alert system.
• We will increase the frequency of peer education training, including the bystander, sexual assault prevention and mental health outreach training modules. These are needed to give students strategies and skills to intervene to prevent possible sexual violence.
• Security cameras will be placed in all residential halls that don't already have them. They will be located on the main doors and the elevators and some public areas. Cameras will not be installed where privacy might be a concern.
• We will allocate more resources to mental health and conflict resolution resources. For example, we've secured money from the Parents Leadership Council for our restorative justice program – a form of alternative dispute resolution that brings students together in small groups, empowers them to resolve conflicts and focuses on the needs of all involved, providing a stronger sense of community.
• Our police will continue to train in all aspects of community policing. Recently, the entire department participated in training seminars regarding fair and impartial policing perspectives and in cultural competency training. All newly hired officers will attend these programs by the end of the summer.
This is only the beginning and I pledge to make continuous efforts to ensure our campus is a place where you can feel safe and secure. Over the summer we will also work with RAs and residential staff to gather student feedback. We will continue to review and work to improve ways to protect our students, faculty and staff. Over the coming weeks, look for more updates on our progress.
Harvey G. Stenger