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University News

Community council addresses safety, violence

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday’s Brown University Community Council meeting focused on the community’s safety concerns and the repercussions for student misconduct.

A committee of students, faculty and public safety officers has started reviewing pedestrian safety on campus, said Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, senior vice president for Corporation affairs and governance. The University formed the new panel after the fatal February car accident at the intersection of Hope and Thayer streets, The Herald reported earlier this month.

Though accidents are usually low-speed and low-injury, intersections — such as the one at Brown and Waterman streets — and signal crossings are being evaluated for safety, Carey said. The University will be working this spring with the city of Providence to coordinate the signal lights on Waterman Street to reduce traffic.

Educating students, faculty, drivers and officers and emphasizing personal responsibility is key in this issue, according to Carey.

Installation of more blue light phones, zip cars and bicycle racks, has increased pedestrian safety, according to Carey.

Carey also discussed steps to prevent on-campus violence. Warning signals have often presented themselves before previous violent incidents, at Brown and at other campuses, he said.

“If you have a concern, we would like you to let someone know,” Carey said.
President Ruth Simmons said Brown’s policies on violence “are pretty clear,” and “if something is threatening, harmful or harassment,” then it “requires action.”

Awareness, prevention and education are the main ways to ensure campus safety, Carey said.

Because all armed Brown police officers have now undergone intensive training, officers have made more reports on violence, which Carey said shows “the more education and discussions we have, the better.”

Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services, also presented a report on the recent review of the Standards of Student Conduct, which is conducted every three years. The code, which covers non-academic actions, had been reviewed for over a year.

Klawunn proposed a new specification in the code’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, which would break up the offense into two tiers to eliminate confusion and differentiate potential disciplinary actions. The lower tier would include “non-consensual physical contact of sexual nature,” she said. The other tier would encompass “penetration, violent physical force or injury,” which usually would lead to a punishment of “separation from the University,” she added.

Klawunn concluded with a recommendation to install an office of student conduct to manage all academic and non-academic offenses as a way to manage both types of incidents in the same office.

The meeting concluded with a report from Vice President for Research Clyde Briant in which he emphasized continuing to build partnerships with private institutions such as IBM as well as other universities and hospitals.

This kind of partnership is “the research bond that brings people together,” Briant said.

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