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CCAC explores ND, SMC relationship with city

| Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Community/Campus Advisory Coalition (CCAC) met Tuesday afternoon at the Holy Cross College St. Joseph Arts and Sciences Building to discuss ways to foster and improve the relationship between South Bend, its residents and local college students.

The panel — which consists of city leaders, law enforcement officers and residents of South Bend, in addition to students and administrators from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross College, Indiana University South Bend and Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend — focused its November meeting on safety and positive interactions between students and community members.

South Bend police officer Robert Hammer said as students — particularly those who live off campus — prepare to leave for the holiday season, they should be careful to lock up their belongings.

“Make sure windows are closed, curtains are down and alarms are set,” he said. “And if they do have an issue when they come back — if their house got broken into — we would like to know that information as soon as possible.”

Tim Sexton, associate vice president for public affairs at Notre Dame, seconded the advice.

“I’ve come to these for seven-and-a-half years, and I hear all the safety instructions that we give to our students,” he said. “And I thought I conveyed them well to my own kids. And unfortunately, my son — who lives east of campus in Legacy Village — they had their place broken into and robbed.”

The students locked up the house, Sexton said, but burglars kicked in the back door and stole the residents’ Apple laptops.

“I think seven of the eight living there had their computers stolen,” he said.

On the topic of safety, Adriana Rodriguez, legislative research assistant for the South Bend Common Council, said the city recently filed an ordinance to update the nuisance property code.

The current code says that if police, code enforcement or the legal department responds to repeated problem calls from local properties, they can be fined increasing amounts and labeled a chronic problem property. The proposed changes to the ordinance would include responses from the fire department.

The group also discussed the enforcement of taxicab policies. Notre Dame student body vice president Becca Blais said students have reported a number of incidents with local cab companies where they have felt unsafe.

“If it’s a safety concern, the student should always call 911,” Hammer said.

Ashley Colborn, assistant city attorney for South Bend, said students should also report incidents to the Common Council, so they can issue citations or letters of warning to local companies or drivers.

If a student can safely get the vehicle’s license plate number or cab number, they should report that as well, Colborn added.

Blais also said Notre Dame student government plans to launch a SafeBar program in the spring that will train local bartenders in bystander intervention. The program has received approval and funding.

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About Katie Galioto

Katie, the Observer's current Managing Editor, is a senior majoring in political science, with minors in Business Economics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She's a former Walsh Hall resident who now lives off campus and hails from Chanhassen, Minnesota. Follow her on Twitter @katiegalioto.

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