Student Association

SU senior discusses proposal to install police cameras on campus at SA meeting

Chase Guttman | Staff Photographer

SA's Monday meeting in Maxwell Auditorium included discussions about off-campus safety and security, the final report published by the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion and the upcoming SA debate.

Members of Syracuse University’s Student Association discussed off-campus safety and security, the final report published by the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion and the upcoming SA debate during Monday’s meeting in Maxwell Auditorium.

The meeting kicked off with a presentation by Alexander Lynch, a senior citizenship and civic engagement major who created a survey that focused on how SU can step up to protect students living off campus for his senior project. Lynch shared with the assembly that between 2013 and 2015, 2,556 crimes were committed in the University Hill and SU neighborhoods. Most of those crimes were crimes against students, Lynch said.

The survey found that while 84 percent of students said they felt safe walking on campus at night, 82 percent felt unsafe walking off-campus at night.

In order to try and rectify these problems and reduce crime as well as student fears, Lynch has proposed the installation of CCTV police cameras in order to record crimes. The cameras would aim to help assess crimes and reduce crime in the area, Lynch said.

He said his goal is to install 45 cameras around the intersections that surround apartments off-campus that are mostly inhabited by students. Syracuse police would have access to the footage, he said, and there are talks to grant the Department of Public Safety access as well.

Lynch said he has support for the idea from Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s office, the Syracuse Police Department, SU Chancellor Kent Syverud and DPS, among others.

The project is expected to cost nearly $500,000, with each of the proposed 45 cameras costing about $11,000. Lynch said the installation process should be able to be completed within about three to four months once the project is finalized.

Lynch also told the assembly that he proposed the creation of a Community Safety and Security Analyst to Syverud. The Community Safety and Security Analyst would, among other responsibilities, be in charge of coordinating the university’s efforts to implement programs and initiatives that serve to increase student safety, Lynch said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, SA Vice President Jane Hong addressed the assembly regarding the final report published by the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion, which was released to the public on Monday. Hong, who has served on the workgroup since October, discussed key aspects of the report with the assembly. She said the workgroup focused its energy on making sustainable changes.

The report contains 33 recommendations, both short- and long-term, but Hong shared that “(the workgroup) could have typed up a 100-page document if (it) wanted to, with all of the recommendations that (it) had.”

One of the short-term recommendations Hong discussed was offering free tutoring for all undergraduate students across campus.

“(SU) is the only university in the (Atlantic Coast Conference) to charge students for tutoring and that is pretty remarkable,” Hong said. “We think that this is an easy solution to offer free tutoring because it’s ridiculous that based on your socioeconomic status you have an advantage over other students when really everyone is just trying to do well in their classes.”

One of the long-term recommendations Hong discussed with the assembly was hiring a chief diversity officer. She said many universities that are successful in the area of diversity and inclusion have someone in that position and have an office devoted to supporting a mission to make their university as diverse and inclusive as possible.

“(SU is) kind of late in the game with not having this position,” Hong said.

The chief diversity officer would report directly to the chancellor and would help administer programs aimed at benefitting the overall university community, Hong said.

SA also discussed the upcoming debate it will be hosting. The debate will take place on March 28 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Stolkin Auditorium inside the Physics Building. It will take the place of the SA meeting that night.

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