October 22, 2014

SIU Carbondale announces strategies to enhance safety

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will enhance campus safety by developing an ongoing awareness campaign, adding campus lighting, increasing public safety staffing, and evaluating all existing safety-related programs and policies, according to Interim Chancellor Paul D. Sarvela. 

Following a number of incidents on or near campus this fall, Sarvela convened a panel of students, faculty, staff, community members and city officials to develop recommendations to enhance campus safety. Planning to implement the panel’s 14 recommended strategies is already underway, Sarvela said. 

“Campus safety is a national issue,” he said. “Like colleges and universities across the country, SIU is already doing a great deal to promote a safe and secure environment and to educate students about making wise, responsible choices. But clearly, we must do more. 

“Safety is also a shared responsibility,” he added. “I look forward to partnering with our students, with the City of Carbondale, and with all members of our community to ensure that all of the steps we are taking will make a positive difference.” 

The committee’s recommendations, organized into five categories, follow. 

Increase Public Safety Staffing and Support to Campus

  1. Hire and train additional public safety officers who can be strategically deployed for high-impact results.
  2. Reconfigure Saluki Patrol assignments as a supplement to Department of Public Safety officers so that there are additional personnel on patrol in the late night hours.

Invest in Security Infrastructure Improvements

  1. Continue to invest in security enhancements, including the installation of additional lighting and security surveillance equipment along campus walkways and roadways. 

Conduct Strategic Evaluations

  1. Complete a thorough evaluation of all current programs on campus violence topics to consider effectiveness of message, content and reach.
  2. Evaluate housing policies and procedures, especially those related to guests and staff coverage, in order to ensure that all practices contribute to a safe and supportive environment.
  3. Conduct a campus safety survey in the spring of 2015 (to complement a 2013 survey and related recommendations) to assess perspectives of students, faculty and staff. 

Design Robust Outreach and Educational Programs

  1. Design a robust, ongoing public information and awareness campaign aimed at all campus constituents focusing on understanding consent, available resources for support, clear articulation of campus and community standards and potential consequences for violations.
  2. Create a comprehensive informational publication that identifies major resources available to students, such as the Night Safety Transit, Saluki Cares, Saluki Express and Brightway Paths.
  3. Incorporate into new student orientation and welcome events the message of using good judgment and personal responsibility order to stay safe in a new environment.
  4. Expand and promote safety education offerings offered by the Department of Public Safety, Wellness Center and University Housing. 

Reinforce Strategic Partnerships

  1. Expand peer-to peer mentoring and training with assistance from student leaders representing fraternities and sororities, student athletes and other groups.
  2. Expand and promote student-focused events on campus, and increase support to student groups that choose to hold on-campus events.
  3. Work with the City of Carbondale to identify potential municipal policies and practices that can be enacted or enforced; examples include a house party registration program and ordinances to address “nuisance” properties where problems recur.
  4. Collaborate with the Women’s Center, Campus Ministries and other organizations to provide programming and support.