Officials: Dorm security upgrades coming

Keator Poleman

Digital Editor

Dozens of cameras are to be installed at the University Place I and II dormitories, Student Government Association members learned at their meeting Monday night. Stephanie Dyjack, Campus Living Villages general manager, said the order for 81 cameras was made a year ago, not in response to recent incidents.

Dyjack and campus police officials were at the meeting to brief SGA about campus safety concerns. Lights will also be added to both dorm buildings, she said.

One issue both police and housing officials stressed was the need for cooperation between the university, students and campus security in keeping the campus safe.

The speakers cautioned students to refrain from spreading false information online and to not believe every suspected incident heard over social media.

Speaking on a recent burglary, Chief Craig Vercher said the student left their door and window unlocked, lights on and valuables in clear view.

During another incident, a burglar went inside the dorms of four students and stole from them while they were in their rooms, Vercher said.

Vercher and Capt. Wesley Harrel said students should be mindful of whom they allow into the dorms and report each guest to student housing so officials know who’s on campus.

On officer response time, Vercher said university police arrived on two separate burglaries in 29 and 59 seconds, respectively.

Currently, the university only sends out emergency Purple Alerts when lives and the university could be at risk, Vercher said. University police rely on Northwestern State University’s media teams to get reports of burglaries or other non-life-threatening crimes, he added.

Vercher and Dyjack said they are looking into services to alert students of future non-emergency incidents. Two ideas in mind are an app-based report system and a similar service to Purple Alert, they said.

Dyjack said she is examining whether the armed guard currently on night watch at University Place II is adequate, given the multiple entrances and exits on the premises and lack of security personnel.

Even with added security, students should still make sure their property is secured and be mindful of suspicious persons, the speakers said.

The speakers said they don’t want to keep students from having guests on university grounds, but they do want to make sure the campus is safe.

In other business, the Senate proposed two resolutions:

  • Congratulating Reatha Cox for being named the 2020 University of Louisiana System Staff Person of the Year.
  • Recognizing Sodexo for food service improvements.

Both resolutions will be discussed at the SGA meeting Monday.

In the Senate forum, SGA approved “Black Lives Matter? Always Have: The History of the Movement that Preceded BLM” as the theme for its Black History Month event. The event will discuss the history of African-Americans in the United States up to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Senators continued their debate on extending operating hours for the Wellness, Recreation, Activity Center. No final decisions were made.

During reports, SGA President Jacob Ellis congratulated the SGA for its work during Leadership NSU.

Ellis also announced V.L. Roy Service Day will be held on March 14.

The search is ongoing for an SGA representative for University Programing Council.

Treasury Commissioner Elizabeth Coleman released the current budget.

  • SGA’s budget stands at $45,981.85
  • The Speaker’s budget is at $59,787 but will drop after calculating the cost of Leadership NSU
  • Organizational Relief Fund is at about $38,000

Student Affairs Commissioner Kristen Prejean said her department is looking into:

  • Creating bike racks by Watson Memorial Library
  • Getting Safe Spring Break ready
  • Working on a Demon Discount program
  • Discussing operating hours with the WRAC

Two new senators were added at Monday’s meeting.

Ellis nominated Darrin Nixon and Alaina Parham for the positions. Both were approved by the Senate.

Sadie LeComte

Share your thoughts