Personal Safety Committee Report
The Personal Safety Committee at SUNY Oneonta is a broad-based advisory group that is charged to assess the campus environment and procedures and to recommend measures which might be instituted to resolve identified issues.
SUNY Oneonta 2013-14
Members of the Committee this year included Michael Kinsella (professional facilities staff). Bianca Tredennick (faculty), Michele Luettger (professional staff), Colleen Cashman (faculty), Selina Policar (student), and Cassandra Duplacy (student). We met periodically throughout the year to discuss issues, polled students for their concerns, and invited several key members of campus to meet with us to review policies and procedures concerning personal safety for our campus. Those we met with included Amanda Finch, Director of Judicial Affairs, Melissa Fallon-Korb, Director of the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center, Rebecca Harrington, Health Educator, Dan Chambers, Chief of University Police, and Tom Rathbone, Associate Vice President of Facility Operations. Issues explored include personal safety, the physical environment on campus (inside and outside buildings), sexual assault, student medical concerns, behavioral risk assessment, and domestic violence.
Students brought forth several issues of concern. These included:
- While they really appreciate the College’s escort service, the response time to wait for an escort, particularly when the student is waiting in an isolated location, alone, and in darkness, is worrisome. Some students also were not aware of the escort service and would like more publicity.
- Students in Golding Hall use a self-made path from their residence hall to Wilsbach Dining Hall uphill between Grant and Curtis Hall. The path is either frozen with ice or muddy after the snow melts. It is also unlit, but is the fastest way to get to the dining hall, so students continue to use it. It needs to be paved, lit and maintained to provide safety.
- There is a pathway students use between Higgins Hall and downtown if they miss a bus to go to and from campus. It is unlit and dangerous. Students request a blue light be installed at the top of the path, and if it is campus property please pave it and put in lighting.
- Not all residence hall bedroom doorways have peep holes. Students would like ALL doors to have these installed as soon as possible.
- The steps between Schumacher and the Library need to be repaired.
- The road between Macduff Hall and Huntington Hall should have a crosswalk painted on the road linking the two sidewalks. There is a lot of traffic on this road delivering to the two dining halls and drivers do not pay attention to students crossing.
- Students would like to have more courtesy phones on campus. With cell service being as spotty and unreliable as it is in Oneonta, especially with service being non-existent in certain buildings, a landline phone would be the only method to call for help in case of an emergency with one person and no cell service. Some recommended locations include the new music wing in Fine Arts on the second and basement floors, in Chase near the locker rooms, and in Science I. They also recommend a second courtesy phone being placed in the sub-basement of Milne Library near one of the stairwells.
- Better information for guests of residents if a guest is in need of elevator access for a temporary disability.
- Students would like to implement a more active program that focuses on violence, harassment, etc. The current "know violence" program is a start, but it's passive. Instead, the school could focus on it to the degree that diversity is focused on. If the issue of personal safety received the same level of attention and support, it could be more effective than any utility update.
- Brighter lights in every lamp post on campus
- The well-worn but unofficial path around the Hunt Union pond that many students (commuters) take to their cars is of concern. It's fine during the day, but uncomfortably dark and isolated at night.
- One student would like to see more blue lights - specifically in the academic quad areas (closer to the fine arts building). It is very uncomfortable to walk through there at night after rehearsals and there is limited lighting and barely any blue lights.
- The stairwells in Schumacher are very congested and cramped. Not only is this slow and tiresome, but could be unsafe in the event of a fire or other building emergency.
Issues recommended for improvement by the Committee and key members of the campus community include:
- Find a better model for OSES (student medical response team) to use to determine the intoxication level of students
- Increase passive programming for suicide prevention and better educate student when and who to call for help
- Be able to locate and utilize a forensic psychologist for threat assessment
- Increase the number of bystander educational programs
- Train more students for health education outreach and increase the number of pamphlets for passive programing on health issues, including domestic violence
- Include a “Know Violence” session (in skit format) at orientation for new students showing the connections between use of alcohol and sexual assault
- Ensure one of the “Freshmen 15” programs (by New Student Services Office) during the fall term is presented by the “Know Violence” committee to educate students on relationship issues and the risk of sexual assault
- Increase the number of blue lights on campus so you can always see one from you location
- Replace lights on campus with LED type which are brighter and provide better clarity for security cameras
- Design, pave, and light a walkway between Curtis and Grant Halls
- Add students to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee of SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick Colleges and city of Oneonta for discussion of town gown issues
- Develop an online reporting system the entire campus community can use to submit concerning behavioral concerns to the Behavioral Assessment Team
- Update the Personal Safety Website yearly with names of committee members and the most recent yearly report.
- Include peep holes for every door in each renovation design of residence halls
- Better market the availability of escort service
- Paint a cross walk on the road between Macduff and Huntington Halls
- The stairway between Schumacher Hall and the Library are being replaced summer 2014.
At the close of the 2013-14 academic year the committee affirmed SUNY Oneonta is in compliance with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators standards manual.
WEAPONS ON CAMPUS, Daniel P. Chambers & Thomas Rathbone
RECOGNIZED STUDENT EVENT POLICY, Robb Thibault
NIGHT HOSTS/RESIDENCE HALL SECURITY, Christine Edwards
EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SYSTEM, Todd Foreman & Thomas Rathbone
ALCOHOL & DRUG POLICY & PROGRAM REVIEW, Dale Capristo
DOOR OPERATION INSPECTION, Terry Zimmer
RESIDENCE HALL SECURITY, Christine Edwards
EXTERIOR LIGHTING, Thomas Rathbone
SAFE LANDSCAPES, Thomas Rathbone
BIKE SAFETY, Michael O'Donnell
HIGH SECURITY AREAS, Daniel P. Chambers & Thomas Rathbone
FACILITIES DESIGN ISSUES, Thomas Rathbone
CRIME STATISTICS REPORTING, Daniel P. Chambers
ESCORT SERVICES, Daniel P. Chambers
KEY CONTROL, Terry Zimmer
CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAMMING
KNOW VIOLENCE, Rebecca Harrington, (Chair)
CAMPUS PROTECTION AGENCY, Daniel P. Chambers