The Student Government (SG) appreciates the chance to respond to the most recent comments of the Maroon Editorial Board in the newspaper’s Friday, November 3 edition in the section titled “Controlling Crime: UCPD or SG?” We believe accurate communication with the student body starts in publications like the Maroon, and we hope the following will clarify our role in this extremely important issue.
SG is certainly aware that crime is a problem in our community and that students are often targets of crimes against property and person. Immediately after this year’s election, a dedicated security commission was formed to study, in detail, the current safety situation and to begin proactively addressing security issues. The armed robbery of a female undergraduate student several weeks ago did not motivate any new action in the College or Graduate Councils; instead, it justified and reinforced the time and attention we were already giving student safety and security concerns.
Despite much success in controlling crime, there is still much to do to “preserve safety on campus,” as the editors put it. SG recognizes that there are many tasks left to accomplish, tasks that we can perhaps speed along and influence. Specifically, we hope to (1) coordinate a greater focus in preparing students and giving them the necessary knowledge to react appropriately during and after a crime; (2) influence the placement of more emergency phones in certain areas of the community, especially in places where students live and along more secluded streets and avenues; (3) lobby for better lighting in many locations to act as a deterrent to crime; and (4) increase communication between the students, the administration, and the UCPD. With better coordination, students can be more involved in the processes that keep them safe.
SG does not propose accomplishing these tasks alone. It is only by working closely with the University that we will be successful in our efforts to help prevent and reduce crime. Our plans from the very start were to work with the system already in place to maximize its effectiveness. The tendency is often not to include the student in discussions of safety and security since we can claim no expertise or special knowledge in the area. SG’s mission this year, however, is to be a more powerful and resonant voice for student concerns and to directly represent specific student issues to the UCPD and administration. Lastly, we hope that students do more than simply complain; we want active participation in discussions about safety, among other issues, and dynamic involvement in the process of creating a safer community.
Kyle M. Lee and Ian Muhlhauser
SG Security Commission Director and SG President.