SGA discusses campus safety

Lizzy Stocks / THE GATEPOST

SGA Secretary Erin Johnson led a “campus safety conversation” in which members of SGA expressed concern for students’ security on Tuesday, Oct. 2.

Johnson addressed the University Police safety bulletin sent to students mid-afternoon that Tuesday. The bulletin reported a female student had been “approached from behind by two unknown males” on Oct. 1 around 8:20 p.m. as she was walking along the pathway between Hemenway and Dwight halls.

The bulletin said, “These males struggled with the student for a short time,” but “the student was able to free herself and return to her residence hall without further incident.”

After reading the bulletin aloud, Johnson opened the floor for members to share how they felt about the incident.

SGA President Ben Carrington said he was “disheartened” to receive the email given the incidents that occurred last year. He added, “Shelter, food, water, and safety are the most important things as a human being, and if those things aren’t being addressed, then things need to change.”

Senator Olivia Rothwell expressed a need for more blue light safety boxes. She said, “After I read that email, I walked out of Dwight today and I was looking around and I couldn’t see one blue light. So, I think that’s a really big deal.”

Senator Danielle Shaw said the placement of the blue lights “seems funky.”

Senator Jake Maradian suggested more street lights so it’s easier to “catch a shadow” if someone were to approach someone else from behind.

Vice President Alex Backer said, “You have people walking all over campus in the dark. I think that’s a really big concern.”

Student Trustee Ayanna Ferguson said, “While it might be a more prevalent issue for women feeling unsafe, this is still a thing that should be geared toward men as well.”

In her Student Trustee’s Report, Ferguson announced the Board of Trustees introduced a new online training program, similar to the AlcoholEdu and sexual assault prevention programs, but focused on bias training. She said, “It will probably be implemented before we come into the next semester.”

She added, “Everybody will be taking this online training.”

Ferguson then informed SGA 50 new security cameras have been placed throughout the dorms.

Ferguson also announced the Finance Committee for the Board of Trustees approved a five-year Critical Repairs Plan totaling $7,076,132, which will be implemented in various buildings on campus.

The Ski and Snowboard Club was allocated $17,944 for a trip to Sunday River in Feb. 2019.

Two funding requests were approved for the History Club – one allocation of $1,160 for members to attend the play “We Will Not Be Silent” on Oct. 27, and another of $1,365 for all students to take a bus trip to Salem on Oct. 28.

The Dance Team was allocated $2,400.50 for its “Week of the Arts” event during the last week of October, in which 50 free T-shirts will be handed out to promote events.

The Equestrian Club was allocated $2,217.50 for its trip to Stowe Farm in Millbury, Massachusetts for a trail ride.

In his President’s Report, Carrington announced there are still vacancies on university governance committees and expressed the need for students to fill them.

In his Advisor’s Report, David Smailes said, “I’m really proud of you all. Something happened yesterday – you stepped up, you exercised leadership.”

He added, “You should really give yourselves a round of applause. Seriously, well done.”

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