Letter to the Editor: SGA at work for York Hill students

By on October 28, 2009

In last week’s issue of The Chronicle, I read an opinion article titled “York Hill lacking sense of security.” The article was well-written and strongly stated the author’s experiences and disappointment in the lack of security at the York Hill campus. It was one that hit close to home for me, as I am not only a York Hill resident, but also a Student Government representative, and the liaison for security/transportation/parking issues here on campus.

To quote the first paragraph of the article, “The one thing no one has seemed to notice, touch on or even care about is the overwhelming lack of security. For both the Crescent dorm and the parking garage there is only one – repeat one – security guard.” The purpose of my response is not to embarrass or indulge, but more to inform and show my support. To say that no one has noticed, or cared, is the part that caught me off balance. It has been an exhausting few weeks for me getting the point across to administrators that the security coverage we were given is inadequate. Countless meetings, time spent talking to other residents and investigating not only what we had, but what we deserved, was not an easy process.

The Student Awareness Committee has numerous ways to submit a student concern, whether it is submitting a campus issue form on MyQ, e-mailing QUConcerns@quinnipiac.edu, or sending an e-mail to the Vice President of Student Concerns Victoria Stankus. Being on the receiving end of this system, I can tell you first-hand that more than 25 people have noticed, and cared. Because of these 25 people, I was able to build a strong case analyzing data, with specific requests. I brought this to the senior administration, and this week we started seeing results. As of Oct. 19, the University has allocated funds to increase security a great deal at the York Hill campus, immediately. Unfortunately, I am not able to disclose the specifics of it yet. However, I can tell you it is in the process of being completed. In the mean time, the administration has obliged by placing a guard in the booth in front of the York Hill garage, thus monitoring people who both drive, and walk in, until the hiring process has been completed.

The Student Awareness Committee and the senior class cabinet have teamed up to create informative, friendly reminders consisting of safety tips. Also, they advertised some of the services QU security offers its students, such as a 24/7 escort service, or the anonymous tip line, to show the residents that someone has noticed, and does care about the lack of security. In a conversation that took place earlier this year, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Manuel Carreiro asked me to please stress the existence of the escort service. I strongly believe in this service, and have seen the peace of mind it has provided for some of my classmates. The fliers have been placed around the residence halls on both the Mount Carmel and York Hill campuses and other high traffic areas around campus. One of the fliers states, “Be Your Own Bouncer.” I commend the author’s statement of urging residents not to slam doors for people they don’t recognize, but if the situation doesn’t seem right, give it some thought, and don’t be afraid to report anything. Remember, we have 1,040 eyes up here, compared to security’s four. We have not only a responsibility, but an obligation to report anything suspicious for our own safety.

To quote the article again, “I know I’ve personally made comments in passing, usually drenched in sarcasm, about how easy it would be for a person, whether student or outside individual to wreak havoc either within the dorm or the parking garage.” I myself am guilty of this too, but thinking back on it, these comments alone add to the already heightened state of fears, and in reality, wreak havoc themselves. By making passing statements like this, I feel we are personally adding to the fears, so I’d urge the York Hill residents not to make those comments to each other, but rather to the Student Awareness Committee, who will act to make sure the “what if” scenario never happens.

A survey will be going out to the entire Quinnipiac community asking them to rate their satisfaction on items such as security’s visibility, conduct and your overall satisfaction with them. If you are as frustrated as myself, the author of the article or numerous individuals I’ve consulted with, please reflect that in your answers to the survey. The more data I have, the stronger an argument I can make. I know I personally feel we do not have what we not only deserve, but need.

On a final note, I’d like to further stress the fact that I am not acting to increase security in the sense that I want them sniffing hallways and searching rooms. However, I want to ensure the safety of my classmates and me by keeping us safe from an external standpoint. We are a community of mature, capable adults, who do not need our every move watched, especially since some of our members have privileges others under 21 do not, as the Chief of Security and Safety has said to me before. The point is we do not want people on campus in our place of work, study and residence that do not belong. We do not want to fear the walk from the parking garage to our residence hall, and most importantly, we do not want to go to bed at night with that sense of fear and uncertainty about our personal safety. I’d ask everyone that experiences that fear to please submit a student concern in whatever way they choose, and join me in the battle to increase our coverage on campus.

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