New student group to form to improve UP-student communication

Roger Coda
group of students talking

University Police Chief Brent Isaacson and Student Association (SA) President Israel Ortiz are working together to create the new Student Advisory Group for Campus Safety to improve communication between students and University Police and help identify and resolve concerns, reduce crime and create mutual understanding.

The advisory committee will satisfy a need for the campus to have a formalized way or approach that leads to meaningful conversations between students and University Police, Chief Isaacson said. He believes this can best be accomplished through an advisory group focused on students and largely comprised of students.

Honest, purposeful and frequent communication is needed to maintain bonds of trust and cooperation between communities and the law enforcement agencies who serve them, Isaacson explained. “As the chief of University Police, I believe it is essential that we create an environment in which we listen to and learn from the community we serve – most especially, our students!”

SA welcomed the opportunity pursue an initiative that builds on and strengthens the relationship between students and UP. “We were already interested in collaborating with University Police, so this fit perfectly,” said Mr. Ortiz, a junior majoring in Political Science, with minors in Philosophy and Criminal Justice.

“One of the larger goals of this SA group is to implement and recognize student voices and concerns,” Ortiz said. This can best be accomplished, he noted, through an advisory group made up of students.

Isaacson, who will be a member, embraces that priority. The group will be student-centered, Isaacson explained, and consist of students recommended by SA. The Division of Enrollment and Student Services and SA have sent out campus messages to solicit inquiries from students who would like to serve. Interested students may also contact Ortiz or Isaacson.

“The need to hear the student voice is critical for addressing any campus safety issue,” said Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services Cedric Howard. “We have an active student body that is very involved in the overall campus experience. The advisory committee will ensure that students have a formal role in development and evaluation of campus safety policies.”

The study group has been tasked by President Stephen Kolison Jr. with the following: review issues involved in campus safety and crime on campus, recommend ways to increase student input into community policing efforts and develop activities to increase interaction between students and UP officers. Group members are to be stay connected with classmates to identify areas where community policing efforts are falling short of expectations or where opportunities for improvement exist.

The group will also partner with University Police to support community policing among students and provide advice on successfully resolving emerging issues related to campus police or student-police interaction.

Meetings of the group will be held periodically throughout the year. University Police officers and select senior members of the campus administration will be invited to participate in these sessions on a case-by-case basis.

Tentative plans call for the advisory group to be formed by mid-March.

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