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Students, faculty and staff counsel Chancellor on campus safety
Based on a provision of New York law passed in 1990, all colleges and universities in the state must maintain a committee to review current campus security policies and procedures; make recommendations for improvements; and report regularly to the president of the University. At Syracuse University, this responsibility is managed by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Campus Security, which is comprised of students, faculty and staff.
Seniors Sara Dovi, Andrea Goldman (former member) and Kayte Valliere, and junior Rigaud Noel were all invited to sit on the committee by Anastasia Urtz, dean of students. “Student participation on important University committees is essential,” Urtz says. “Students selected to serve on this committee not only have outstanding leadership and organizational skills, but also have a deep commitment to the well being of their fellow students and others in the University community.”
Representing the faculty on the committee are Elletta Callahan, associate professor in the School of Management; Michael Olivette, associate dean and associate professor, and Norma Burgess, professor, both in the College of Human Services and Health Professions.
Staff members include Anastasia Urtz, dean of students; David Pajak, director of risk management; and Wesley Bird, assistant director of the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Each May, a formal annual report from the advisory committee on campus security is submitted to Chancellor Shaw with recommendations for further action. The Chancellor then issues a response indicating the action to be taken. “The Chancellor is very responsive to this direct line of communication and takes the safety of the University very seriously,” says Urtz.
In past years the advisory committee on campus security has played a key role in: improving the Residential Security Aide program in North Campus residence halls; enhancing South Campus security through the addition of patrols, a DPS South Campus station and the new South Campus Welcome Center; and promoting the safety of off-campus students through the Shuttle U Home (SU Home) program.
Currently, one of the more prominent issues the committee is dealing with is a formal review of the University Rape Advocacy, Prevention, and Education Center (R.A.P.E. Center). Since the law requiring advisory committees is intended in large part to address sexual assault prevention on college campuses, the SU committee looks annually at the R.A.P.E. Center to ensure that it is meeting community needs. This year the committee is reviewing new training strategies, data collection and community reporting protocols, and prevention education programs offered by the R.A.P.E. Center.
The committee also serves as an internal review mechanism to consider use of force by DPS officers to ensure effective administration by the DPS of its enhanced authority. Campus lighting and “blue light” emergency telephones, traffic safety and DPS patrols are also annual topics of consideration.
“It’s great to work with students on a committee such as this. To hear comments and concerns coming from the students themselves is so important,” says Bird. “The students are our primary customer and focal point.”