University News

Admins discuss campus safety at UCS meeting

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Due to a spike in crime near campus this semester, the University has increased police presence in the area from 23 to 36 officers, said Russell Carey ’91 MA ’06, senior vice president for Corporation affairs and governance, at Wednesday’s general body meeting of the Undergraduate Council of Students. Carey and Paul Shanley, deputy chief of police of the Department of Public Safety, attended this week’s meeting to discuss campus safety after issuing six crime alerts this school year. 

The University is working to reduce crime by conducting a lighting survey, Carey said. Many of the crimes have occurred in poorly-lit areas. Bratton Group, a security consulting firm, has also been hired to perform an assessment of campus safety.

The University underwent a similar safety evaluation following high on-campus crime rates in 2001 and 2002, which were twice the level that they are this academic year, Carey said. In another effort to improve campus safety, campus police have been allowed to carry arms since 2006. 

The University is working on preventive measures since it is “rare” that a robbery suspect is actually arrested after committing a crime, Carey said. He noted that none of the perpetrators of the six instances this year have been apprehended.

Carey said blue light emergency phones and surveillance cameras around campus also improve security, though he noted students rarely use the blue light phones. Since the University has hundreds of cameras, not every security feed can be constantly observed, he added.  

“It’s not like a Vegas operation where we have people watching all the time,” Shanley said. 

David Rattner ’13, vice president of the council, announced UCS Week will be held from March 5 to March 9 and will feature the State of Brown Address with President Ruth Simmons March 8. 

During the week, the Campus Life Committee plans to host an event where different dining hall vendors will provide food samples to students, said Michael Schneider ’13, the campus life committee chair. Attendees can then give dining hall personnel feedback about the different samples. The event is part of the committee’s work to reduce the number of students going off the meal plan, he added.

Other events during the UCS week will include a day of yoga classes in the Bear’s Lair and a screening of the “The Ides of March.” 

During committee updates, Mae Cadao ’13, chair of the student activities committee, said the New Leadership Orientation will be tonight at 8 p.m. in Wilson 102. The meetings will help make students “more attractive candidates” when applying for leadership positions, said Ralanda Nelson ’12, the president of UCS. Cadao also said the deadline for categorization as a student group has been extended to next Monday, Feb. 27. 

Rattner announced that Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services, and Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services, will attend the March 7 council meeting to discuss housing improvements. 

The council also passed a resolution supporting optional gender-neutral housing for first-years, discussed the possibility of acquiring an online New York Times subscription for students and held a semi-annual vote of confidence in Nelson and Rattner. The council affirmed their support for the two leaders through the vote.