Campus safety

Thanks to everyone who stopped by last week for a donut and cup of coffee with us, University police Chief Greg Hestness and members of the University of Minnesota Police Department. It was great to meet and talk to so many students who are clearly as committed to campus safety as we are.

If you took a few minutes to read President Eric Kaler’s message to the University community about campus safety, you saw that we were busy over break. The University has developed a collaborative, multi-pronged public safety action plan that focuses on four key areas.

Education: We will be actively working with student and campus leaders to spread awareness regarding safety tips and expanded resources like the new Weekend Circulator bus route.

Environment: Improved lighting, increased camera coverage and enhanced building access are examples of the efforts under way to ensure our physical infrastructure is as safe as possible.

Enforcement: Of course, the work of the UMPD remains vital to our efforts. We will continue to dedicate the resources necessary for UMPD to deter people seeking to do harm, to prevent crimes and to catch criminals, and we will continue to work with our partners in the city of Minneapolis to do the same.

Engagement: Engagment is the piece of the puzzle that brings all aspects of campus safety together. The campus and surrounding neighborhoods are safer when everyone plays a role, and we need the entire campus community to be actively engaged in safety and security. Active engagement is easier than you might think.

• Let your voice be heard at an upcoming Feb. 26 “Town Hall” meeting on safety. Students are invited to come and share their thoughts, ideas and concerns directly with us, Kaler and other University leaders.

• Help support and endorse federal efforts by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and legislation by state Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, to mandate “kill switch” technology on wireless devices.

• Take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of your friends. Don’t walk alone at night, stick together and make sure everyone gets home safely, and be aware of potentially risky situations.

We are committed to making our campus and surrounding neighborhoods safe places to study, work, live and visit. Let’s show our Gopher pride by coming together as a community and letting criminals know they will not be successful here.