Campus Safety and Security Committee hikes up efforts

Jesse Weisbeck

When University administrators peered into the cave of campus safety last November, they spotted a sleeping bear. Now, they’re rousing the beast out of its one-year hibernation with hopes to improve security measures and increase safety awareness.
The Campus Safety and Security Committee, which will reconvene for the first time March 10 since 1997, enhances security on campus by discussing safety and security issues and making recommendations for security strategies.
Several top administrators make up the committee and will now meet quarterly to discuss individual safety concerns, hear reports about new security measures and find ways to enhance campus security, according to a letter from University President Mark Yudof to members.
The committee, founded more than eight years ago, made significant contributions to the University in the past, such as the 20 blue light emergency phones scattered around campus.
“We want to be able to pull together people from across the campus to talk about security and safety issues,” said Jane Canney, co-chairwoman of the committee and assistant to the vice president for Student Development and Athletics.
She added that committee members devise safety and security measures by listening to the University community.
University Police Chief Joy Rikala said committee recommendations will be used to advise University police on strategies to enhance security.
Canney said strength in numbers is an approach that the committee feels is important.
A goal of the committee is to foster communication between different University constituencies, said Mary Ann Ryan, director of housing and residential life. “We’re looking for ways we can partner up with others in the long term,” she said.
One example is University facility accessibility, which has been a concern in the past.
Another committee concern is the public’s perception of campus safety.
Some schools’ crime statistics can be misleading when incidents handled through internal channels are omitted from statistics.
But Canney said the University is an exceptionally safe campus.
“We really believe in educating a campus rather than keeping things a secret,” she said. “We work together to make sure of accurate reporting.”