Campus safety and security under review

Teresa Fleming, News Editor

flemingt17@grinnell.edu

About 20 years ago, Grinnell’s security department was upgraded from a single watchman who patrolled the campus at night to the current Office of Campus Safety and Security. Now, the College has brought on campus safety firm Margolis Healy to review the Office of Campus Safety and Security and ensure that the office is able to meet the current needs of the campus community.

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Andrea Conner supervises safety and security on campus. Conner said that the review represents an attempt to ensure that the Office of Campus Safety and Security remains up to date.

“The department is young, right now we’re approximately 20 years in,” Conner said. “It’s time for a recalibration, and it’s time to just revamp and provide some resources, attention and training so that we can meet the needs of our campus.”

Conner said that the decision to review the department was based on the feedback she has received since assuming the role of Associate Vice President of Student Affairs last January.

“I’ve been having a lot of conversation with that department about their needs, and I’ve been accepting feedback informally with a variety of campus constituents,” Conner said. “It became clear that there were significant needs for additional resources: staffing, training, attention.”

Representatives of Margolis Healy were on campus this October to conduct a departmental review and gather feedback from students and faculty about their experiences with the Office of Campus Safety and Security.

Dean of the College Mike Latham said that the firm was selected based on their experience working with other higher education institutions.

“They have an excellent reputation working in higher education.  There are many consultants in the security field, but very few that have the higher education experience that Margolis Healy and their staff do,” Latham wrote in an email to The S&B.

The firm has also worked with the College in the past, helping to rewrite the overall campus emergency operations plan, facilitate training for emergency preparedness and lead a hazardous risk assessment exercise.

Margolis Healy’s review of the Office of Campus Safety and Security will culminate in a series of prioritized recommendations, which will be presented to Conner and Latham, who will then relay the suggestions to President Raynard Kington and request funding to fulfill any number of the report’s recommended actions.

Conner believed that the departmental review would include advice on how to fully comply with the Jeanne Clery Act, which requires federally funded colleges to report crimes that occur on campus.

“The review that they’re doing now is related to the operation of the department, which does very much touch Clery. One, because we’re obligated, of course, to collect crime statistics, publish them and then publish them annually, and then campus safety oversees our timely warning process for Clery,” Conner said. “I could predict that Margolis Healy’s recommendations to us will include how to staff and train at a level that we can be fully compliant and fully confident in our capacities there.”

Conner plans to use feedback from Margolis Healy to build upon the existing infrastructure in place at the Office of Campus Safety and Security and provide the necessary resources to support the department.

“I do absolutely intend on positive changes to the Campus Safety and Security department, building upon the wonderful people who already work there into a department that meets our needs as a modern residential liberal arts college,” Conner said.

NEWS-GC Safety