UR Public Safety has begun to take a proactive approach in the last few weeks following recent incidents and in preparation for Dandelion Day this week. A team of two officers was assigned to proactive duty last weekend and will continue proactive duty for the next few weekends.
Brothers of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity held a concert at their house on Saturday night. The brothers made the decision not to serve alcohol at this event. At approximately 10pm, the two-officer team arrived at the house and proceeded to stand on the porch, talking to and questioning students as they came in and out of the house. They left the without comment after half an hour.
Further investigation into this incident revealed that the two-officer team had visited many other residence halls that evening and on Thursday and Friday night. Their goal was to speak with students, RAs, and staff, to listen to their opinions and concerns, and to understand the overall status of the campus.
“It sounds like Public Safety is engaging students and asking for feedback on how they can be a better partner in keeping our community safe,” Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs John DiSarro said. “I think their work to improve communication and transparency between Public Safety and students is a positive goal.”
According to Director of Public Safety Mark Fischer, Public Safety is attempting to take a proactive approach to student safety on campus, especially relating to alcohol use. He encouraged students to let Public Safety know when there is going to be an event on or off campus, especially if it poses a possible risk to student well being.
The proactive team has been formed in past semesters, but this is the first time this semester. It is in response to recent events on campus including an out-of-control party a few weeks ago in which many students were sent to the emergency room.
“I thought it was the right time to go find out what was going on,” Fischer said. “Talk [to them] about alcohol use. Talk to them about drug use, and not just heroin use.”
Student response to the interactions with the officers was initially not very positive, but according to the officers, it became more positive as the interactions continued.
“The feedback that we got from the students was initially a little bit suspicious, but then they were very positive,” Fischer said, recalling the report from his officers. “[The students] said ‘Hey, we like talking to you.’ They were really open with issues on campus. They had ideas about how to make our campus safer.”
Sanguinetti is a member of the class of 2015.