The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Safety snooze

Public forum on campus security sparsely attended

The Varsity was crowded at noon Wednesday, but not with students and staff members clamoring for a safer campus. Due to the recent occurrences of serious crime on and surrounding the SMU campus, SMU Student Senate hosted a town hall meeting on student safety. The meeting was intended for the entire campus, and although the Varsity was packed, it was not due to the campus safety meeting but rather for lunch. The handful of people in attendance found it hard to hear the speakers over the hungry, loud students.

The panel of speakers included SMU Police Chief Aaron Graves, Asad Rahman, student trustee to buildings and grounds, and Kelly Ann Carmody of Resident Life and Student Housing.

Steven Schindler, the Board of Trustees student member, moderated the meeting. He covered topics from what the SMU PD is doing to solve reoccurring problems to the presence of alcohol on campus and how it affects the campus’ safety.

The discussion began with Chief Graves wanting to clarify the incidents that have occurred in the SMU area since mid-October. During this time three serious offenses have occurred: two armed robberies and one car-jacking.

Graves feels that these incidents do not mean SMU is the victim of a crime-wave.

“It is totally coincidental,” he said. “There is not a pattern, there is not an area that is being targeted.”

Graves said SMU PD handled the high incidents of car burglaries in Dedman 3 Lot by increasing patrolling of the area and installing surveillance cameras.

Schindler asked the panel what could be done to ensure safety on campus.

Rahman, a senior political science major, said that the master plan will move parking outside and around campus. There will be no driving on campus at all. Rahman suggested that SMU get additional funding for the police department to hire more officers, as well as install more security cameras and blue-light emergency telephones on campus.

Carmody added that RLSH works with SMU PD to help with student safety. The residence halls are well-secured and can only be entered with a student ID card. The doors to the rooms lock automatically when shut, and the resident assistants go through a week-long training session on safety and security issues before school starts, preparing them for anything that might occur.

Rahman said he wants to create “ways to empower students and educate them about what is going on.

“We’re not in a bubble,” he said.

Rahman is working to get self-defense classes added to the Wellness 1 curriculum and a parking safety dialogue added to the ARRO program.

Another idea proposed by Rahman is to create a hotline that could be used by students to request escorts from various parts of the campus. These escorts could enhance safety when walking to the dorms or parking lots at night.

Although it may seem that the biggest safety problems facing SMU occur while students are outside, Chief Graves warns this is not so.

“One thing that I do want to emphasize is our number one concern is theft. Theft is occurring more than any other offense on campus,” Graves said.

Graves believes that in order to be safe, students need to be aware of their environment.

“Don’t walk around thinking you are invincible because you are on SMU’s property. You need to be aware of what happens and prevent yourself from becoming a victim,”

Graves said.

“It should be just as important getting through here with a bachelor’s degree as getting through your college experience without being

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