Forum on Campus Safety

March 31, 2002

 

Students called for a more visible police presence, additional lighting, and clarifications regarding the use of SAFE Rides at a February forum that focused on campus safety. Organized by Duke Student Government in the wake of several assaults on campus, the forum gave students an opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns, and learn what steps administrators and Duke police have taken recently to bolster security.

"We have to find the right balance between security and openness," says Larry Moneta, Duke's vice president for student affairs. "We need a greater level of security, but we also must maintain our openness. The answer is not to tighten the place down so that nobody can get in."

About sixty students attended the forum in the East Campus Union, and questions were fielded by Moneta and by Major Robert Dean and Captain Jim Schwab of the Duke police force. The concerns stem from an incident that occurred early the morning of January 30, when a first-year student reported she was sexually assaulted by a man in the bathroom of Randolph residence hall.

As a result of that incident and two subsequent crimes believed to be unrelated, Duke police have enacted additional security measures. They include increased foot, bike, and vehicle patrols; the formation of a Crime Area Target Team, a special unit that can rove or target designated areas; and an increase in the reward, from $1,000 to $5,000, for information leading to an arrest in the Randolph dorm case.

Student Affairs and the police department are hiring a consultant to assess campus security and recommend the best combination of technologies to install, says Moneta. Besides emergency phones and more lighting, Duke will consider affixing security cameras at building entrances. Moneta sent a letter outlining campus safety concerns, new measures, and existing resources to Duke undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.