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Group discusses safety issues

John Cameron | Tuesday, May 3, 2011

As Campus Life Council (CLC) held its final meeting Monday after a school year that began with a number of highly publicized student arrests, its members discussed the progress made regarding on- and off-campus safety.

Student body president emeritus Catherine Soler recapped a recent presentation she made to the Board of Trustees along with vice president emeritus Andrew Bell and former chief of staff Nick Ruof.

“[We] presented on off-campus relations and the two resolutions that we passed in here, as well as our agreement with the police,” she said. “We also talked about sexual assault … to bring it to their attention that more needs to be done in that area. Obviously with what happened last week it’s still a very prominent problem on our campus.”

Soler read University Vice President for Student Affairs Fr. Tom Doyle’s response letter to a CLC recommendation for Freshman Orientation reform. The letter stated the fall arrests highlighted a need for action regarding student safety education, and the suggestions made by CLC would be considered accordingly.

“The off-campus incidents between our students and local law enforcement during the summer and fall of 2010 brought into high relief the importance of our being proactive regarding off-campus safety of all of our students,” Doyle said in the letter. “Based on your observations and resolution, leadership from the Division of Student Affairs, together with Mike Seamen and the Department of Campus Safety, will undertake a review of the various dimensions of student safety that are currently part of orientation and hall staff training.”

Soler also offered an update on the latest meeting with local and state law enforcement. She said the meeting was the first to include both the former and current student body presidents and vice presidents.

“We had our first meeting with our local law enforcement heads and our new leadership for next year, and we discussed what we want to do to be proactive this fall and just have better communication off-campus,” Soler said. “Everyone was really excited to be working on the same page.”

Soler said feedback from law enforcement representatives reaffirmed the success of her administration’s work with community and police relations.

“One of the heads from the Indiana State Excise Police commented that they’d like to use this model of meeting with students at other universities in Indiana,” she said. “I think that’s just really a sign of how much our willingness to work with the police will hopefully pay off for us in the future.”