La Salle is #SaferTogether

On Thursday, September 26th from 5-6 p.m. La Salle Public Safety hosted a town hall meeting to answer questions that students, faculty, and staff had regarding security on campus. Panelists included Dr. Amanda Guthorn, Assistant Vice President for Public Safety, Dr. Dawn Soufleris, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Enrollment Management and Captain Ernest Ransom for the 35th District of the Philadelphia Police Department. Anna Allen, Assistant Vice President of Campus Life was the moderator of the event. The focus of the event was on the actions that La Salle University has taken since the town hall meeting that took place last spring semester. Some of the key points that Dr. Guthorn addressed were:

            -Current Public Safety motto for the 2019-2020 school year is #SaferTogether

            -New public safety vehicles coming to campus soon: have high visibility and are easily identifiable

            -La Salle Public Safety has an active Twitter presence @LaSallePubSAFT

            -All Public Safety officers must wear high visibility safety vests at all times

            -Continue to host town hall meetings about security on and off campus

The tone of the town hall was primarily centered around community engagement and public safety officers’ “Duty to Care.” A question was asked to Dr. Soufleris about the potential possibility of La Salle adopting its own campus police force with armed officers like some of the other universities in Philadelphia have. Dr. Soufleris answered the question and said,

“Many very large universities have police officers as part of their staff at universities, but not necessarily the size of La Salle. There is an extremely high cost of having police officers as part of the staffing here but there’s a bigger picture to that. If it was just about money we would figure it out, but it is a far broader issue. We have a very strong partnership with Captain Ransom and the 35th District, and we also straddle a portion of the 14th District, so we have two precincts that watch over La Salle. Public Safety is a career path that is focused on community engagement, proactive behavior and being part of an education mission of a university particular at La Salle.”

Another major topic that was explored was in regard to the Student Security Desk Receptionists (SDR) in the Residence Halls across campus. Dr. Guthorn claimed, “We found that the students who work at the SDR desk have an invested interest in ensuring the safety of their fellow students.”

Dr. Soufleris also commented on this topic and stated, “We look to put students working at the SDR desk during daylight time. We did that for two reasons:

  1. We heard complaints about the security officers from Allied that were at the desk sometimes that they were not being ‘customer service like’ and were not as attentive as we would like them to be.
  2. Many universities, including many that I have worked at, and I actually worked as one when I was a college student, use students as an opportunity for employment. We know at this university that it is critical for many of our students to have an on-campus job in order to help pay for school and other expenses.”

 

Dr. Soufleris mentioned that since La Salle decided to hire student SDR workers, the university has received far fewer complaints from other students regarding the service that the student SDRs are providing.

La Salle Public Safety, university administration, and representatives from the Philadelphia Police Department plan on hosting more town halls throughout the academic year to have an open dialogue about the questions and concerns that anyone at La Salle may have about security both on and off campus. Changes are being implemented to make sure that La Salle University is a safe environment where we can live and learn. Everyone at the university is working toward one common goal: being #SaferTogether.