USG hears from chief of police

By Keefe Watson and By Keefe Watson

USG leadership officials gave University updates, and the USG body was visited by the Interim University Chief of Police during its weekly meeting.

USG President Amanda Dortch’s announcements Monday night included meetings with school administrators such as Provost Rodney Rogers.

Currently, the University is planning to switch to 15-week terms and add a January intersession, more commonly known as a J-session.

Dortch also discussed the effectiveness and use of Academic Peer Mentors in the residence halls. APMs are designed to be a convenient resource for students to learn more about other campus resources, such as the Learning Commons.

Dortch encouraged the USG members to reach out to her with any questions or ideas.

USG Vice President Richard Racette encourages any current sophomores to apply for the student Board of Trustees position.

“It’s an amazing position and a great way to give back,” Racette said.

The application is due Feb. 12 and can be found on USG’s OrgSync page. Applicants must be an Ohio resident and fulfill a number of other qualifications, too.

Feb. 20, USG will be hosting a town hall style meeting with the University Activities Office from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The location is not yet determined.

“The objective of this town hall is to gauge interest of what kind of programs, activities (and) maybe even concerts the student body wants,” Racette said.

Director of Governmental Relations Hannah Cubberly asked USG members to attend the Community Task Force’s open house meeting Feb. 7 any time between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Bowling Green courthouse.

The task force includes the city’s Planning Department and a recently hired urban planner from a Chicago-based firm called Camiros.

“It’s open to the public, and (the task force) encourages students to come and be aware of what’s happening… in the Bowling Green community for the next one to two years,” Cubberly said.

Interim University Police Chief Mike Campbell highlighted possible new technologies that would improve campus safety and security, spoke about safety in relation to diversity and gave a few general updates.

As interim chief, Campbell seeks to “bridge the gap between police and students of diverse backgrounds.”

Part of this effort includes creating opportunities for students to meet with police officers and ask them questions in a relaxed environment.

So far this school year, these opportunities have included partnering with the city police to host “Coffee with a Cop” and partnering with USG to host “Real Talk with Real Cops.”

“All those things are really focused on trying to build positive relationships,” Campbell said. “It’s tough to understand where everyone comes from… and that goes for members of the public and officers as well.”

Campbell was asked about the recent sanctuary campus petition that was denied a few weeks ago by President Mary Ellen Mazey. He reiterated Mazey’s previous statements about abiding by all federal laws and her endorsement of the BRIDGE Act.

The University Police will soon conduct a loudspeaker study to learn what it would take to implement emergency loudspeakers in “key parts of the campus.”

A loudspeaker system would not circumvent current means of communication like texts and emails, but add to them.

“The goal of emergency notification is to get you the information as fast as possible, that way you guys can make informed decisions if there’s ever an emergency on campus,” Campbell said.

The USG body raised questions about the emergency blue light phones located in some parts of campus. According to Campbell, new blue lights will not be added since they are no longer used in the capacity they were intended when first implemented in the ‘90s.

“Over the last couple of years… we had zero emergency calls,” Campbell said.

Resources will be directed toward newer technology that works in conjunction with the current text and email notification system.

The University Police force recently hired two new officers to its team, both of whom attended the University before attending the police academy.

The hiring process for the hief of police position is currently being held, and an appointment is expected sometime this summer.

John Ellinger, the University’s chief information officer, will attend USG next week to talk to students and answer questions.