Students, staff may gain voice in campus safety through new committee

Nicole Towne

Campus safety is often not a prevalent concern until it becomes a problem. Colorado State University has a comprehensive system that works to keep everyone on campus safe and prevents safety threats before they arise, but the campus safety network is continuing to develop with the newly-forming Campus Safety Advisory Committee.

Associated Students of Colorado State University President Jason Sydoriak is working alongside Chief of Staff Mark Gill, CSU Police Department Police Chief Scott Harris and the Public Safety Team to create the basic framework of the committee.

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The committee will be composed of students, faculty and staff that will routinely meet and discuss all things public safety. The committee will be able to present ideas and concerns to the University, allowing a greater variety of voices to be represented.

“We need a space to have a conversation that is reoccurring,” Sydoriak said.

Originally proposed by Sydoriak as the Police Advisory Board, which would have had a similar function to the Fort Collins Citizen’s Review Board, the developing committee is now taking a broader role. It is expanding its focus beyond the work of the on-campus police department.

“The committee will give our campus constituents and their representatives on the committee a venue to learn more about the work of the Public Safety Team (which includes the CSU Police Department), policies, procedures, trends in public safety and communications. It also will provide an easy way for the campus community to ask questions about public safety on campus and to offer recommendations and ideas for improved procedures,” Gill said.

The committee will not have the authority to review incidents and complaints, but it is important to note that there is already a review system in place in regard to campus safety.

“I think that this is really important because it allows students to have impact on policies on campus,” Sydoriak said.

Beyond the Campus Safety Advisory Committee, CSUPD is taking action to expand and improve community relations. The department is currently hiring and training new officers, as well as working to reach out to the community.

“(The department has) partnered with student groups across campus to both initiate and improve relationships between the community and police,” Harris wrote in an email to the Collegian.

The Campus Safety Advisory Committee will hold its initial planning meeting Feb. 15, where more of the specific details will be determined, such as the number of committee members, meeting frequency and initial steps for formation. The official roll-out date has not yet been determined, but it is likely to occur this semester.

“I’m looking forward to getting the committee up and running and expect great outcomes,” Gill wrote in an email to the Collegian. “I want to thank Jason Sydoriak and ASCSU for initiating the discussion and being part of the process for creating the committee.” 

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Collegian Reporter Nicole Towne can be reached online at news@collegian.com or via Twitter @nicole_towne21.