President unveils expanded safety initiatives, 10/30
Update on Campus Safety
A Message from President Donald J. Farish
Anyone at the all-campus meeting yesterday (Oct. 29) saw a range of emotions from our students: fear, anger, a sense of being violated, and a genuine concern for their safety. Although we believe that our campus is safe, we recognize also that perception is often reality, and if our students believe they are not safe, then that is a reality to which we need to react.
Accordingly, I am announcing a series of actions, including:
1. We immediately will hire additional security staff with the intention of creating a greater sense of presence of security on the campus. These staff will patrol the campus itself, during the evening and nighttime hours, by foot or bicycle, with a special concentration on the parking areas and residence halls. These additional security staff will be in place by this weekend.
2. For the long term, I will recommend to the Board of Trustees that we hire five additional police officers. The hiring process will commence before the end of the semester.
3. Public Safety will provide additional training for the Student Community Policing Practitioners, who currently accompany students to and from campus venues upon request.
4. We will expand our 20-year-old escort program, newly renamed Safe Walk & Ride. Students will be able to call Public Safety if they wish to be escorted or driven to and from nearby off-campus residences and the campus itself.
5. Public Safety will begin a new program called Student Patrol, wherein students will be trained and hired to patrol the campus in uniformed pairs on foot or bicycle.
6. We will investigate the creation of a K-9 corps.
7. We will evaluate lighting throughout campus to ensure that it is well lit and act expeditiously to make improvements where necessary.
8. We will significantly increase student programming funds to allow for more campus events and in that way encourage more students to stay on campus.
9. We will continue to assess the feasibility of installing cameras in certain locations on campus.
10. We will build on existing personal safety programs, including self-defense classes.
11. For the time being, Public Safety has restructured its shifts, increasing them from eight hours to 12 hours. Under this approach, more officers will be on campus at strategic times.
12. The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office is providing funding to the Borough of Glassboro to expand police coverage in the vicinity of the campus.
13. We will work with the faculty to increase the number of daytime classes to allow students to avoid evening classes if they want.
14. We will continue to strongly encourage members of the campus community and, through the students, their parents to sign up for text messaging (www.rowan.edu/emergency).
I do not mean this to be an exhaustive list of actions, but they are all steps that will be taken immediately or in the very near future. Through continued dialogue with the campus community, we will take additional steps as needed. I want to be clear with everyone that we will not compromise when it comes to the safety of our students and other members of our campus community.
We are all going through an emotionally draining time. We have tragically lost a member of our Rowan family to senseless, random brutality. There is nothing we can do now to change what has happened, but if we work together we will emerge a stronger and better place. I commit myself to achieving that outcome.
Yours in peace,
Donald J. Farish