Administrators hold safety forum in response to hate crimes

Georgetown students and administrators conducted a panel in the ICC Auditorium about Georgetown’s response to hate crimes last Thursday.

Several administrators attended the panel, included Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson and Vice President for University Safety Rocco DelMonaco. While there was little information about the crimes, the forum was full of information about safety at Georgetown.

DEFINING HATE CRIMES: The moderator pressed Olson to explain why Public Safety Alerts typically say “bias-related incident” instead of “hate crime.” Olson said Georgetown uses a legalistic definition of hate crime that only certain crimes qualify under.

When GUSA Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12) asked Olson about the GUSA Senate’s bill to change the way hate crimes are treated under the Student Code of Conduct, Olson said the Office of Student Conduct would consider the legislation, but declined to say whether it would be adopted.

STUDENT PATROLS: In meetings after the hate crimes, GU Pride and other students have talked about organizing a group of students patrol campus at night, presumably to prevent hate crimes. DelMonaco pointed students towards other student-run safety groups like the Students Safety Advisory Board and APO’s shuttle service; Olson seemed less than enthusiastic about the idea.

“We need to make sure that if we’re putting students out in a patrol function, that those students are going to be safe,” Olson said.

More about security cameras on campus, arming DPS and Solidarity’s spat with Rocco after the jump!

CAMERAS ON CAMPUS: DelMonaco was asked why, since there is a camera near the site of the second hate crime, the camera hasn’t been used in the investigation. He said he wasn’t sure whether the camera in question was aimed at the site of the hate crime. Additionally, not all security cameras have a direct feed to DPS, so if this is one of them investigators have to go through the tapes.

In good news for Vox commenters who hunger for more cameras, DelMonaco said there are plans to expand Georgetown’s camera system. In bad news for said commenters, DelMonaco said there is currently no money to purchase new cameras.

ARMING DPS: DelMonaco said there are no plans to give DPS more lethal weapons.

SOLIDARITY V. ROCCO: Ever since the Solidarity’s representative’s speech at the hate crime vigil, Solidarity has been using the hate crimes as a springboard for its campaign to support the DPS union in negotiations with the University for higher wages.

Surprisingly, a question about the union negotiations earned the biggest reaction from the audience, with cheers and whoops. Or maybe it’s not so surprising, since higher DPS wages seem like the most concrete suggested response to the hate crimes.

DelMonaco said he can’t comment on ongoing with negotiations with the union, out of respect for the negotiations.  To which a Solidarity representative later asked,  “Do you really expect us to think you respect the union representatives?” DelMonaco looked annoyed.

10 Comments on “Administrators hold safety forum in response to hate crimes

  1. “In bad news for said commenters, DelMonaco said there is currently no money to purchase new cameras.”

    Good. I just wish the student body here wasn’t so eager to turn to police-statism whenever they feel the least bit threatened.

  2. Pingback: Hate Crimes Law will Strengthen Conservatism, Weaken Leftists; the unintended consequences « VotingFemale Speaks!

  3. Security cameras do not create a “police state.” Most public places in this country now have security cameras, and I don’t think most of us feel like the Walmart or CVS is a “police state.” The GU Law Center has cameras everywhere, including a ton of them in the dorm building. And no one is lashing out against Big Brother. It is fine. And despite sitting next to a massive homeless shelter, the Law Center is virtually crime-free.

  4. Patrolling students is a dumb idea. Either people will get hurt, or interest won’t last for a semester.

    If students really want to help, they should push for expanded saferides, both in number of vans circulating as well as in terms of hours. The students could even volunteer to drive their own vans around, or expand the apo program.

  5. The student patrol idea is incredibly stupid. What we don’t need is a rag-tag group of would be do-gooders walking the streets at night involving themselves in situations where they think a hate crime may be occuring. How soon until one of them gets hurt by confronting the wrong person? And what would their position be on non-hate crime assaults? If I get mugged–but not called a fag–will they intervene? If the university sanctions these patrols and someone gets hurt, how long before we see a lawsuit? This idea is bad on so many levels.

  6. “DelMonaco was asked why, since there is a camera near the site of the second hate crime, the camera hasn’t been used in the investigation.”

    WELL WHAT WAS HIS ANSWER?!?!?! Why would you write that without reporting what his answer was???

  7. @COL ’10 DITTO

    This is interesting. When there was a huge influx of bike crimes, I ran into Rocky on campus and walked with him to Wisey’s. I told him that simple having a security camera, or a PERCEIVED security camera for deterrence purposes, could go so far in solving that problem. He told me the same stuff about the money.

    As far as the camera situation is concerned, I don’t really advocate them too much at all. I like them for deterring blatant theft (which fake ones can do) but too much more and it would get a little too big brother-ish.

  8. You know how cameras don’t get too Big Brother-ish? People go to restaurant, hotels, sporting events, shopping malls, and even other college campuses all the time, and I never hear anyone say “Wow, too many security cameras here.” Honestly, unless you’re looking for them b/c you want to commit a crime, you don’t notice cameras. And unless you commit a crime, the camera has no impact on your life.

    At this point, Georgetown could use Big Brother. It doesn’t seem like anyone else is in charge.

  9. @ Col ’10 What, haven’t you ever heard of building suspense? Really, though, you’re right, and I’ve updated the post accordingly.

  10. You left something important out of your story regarding Mr. DelMonaco’s comments about the union negotiation. He said the University very much supports increasing the starting wages of DPS officers. He then said he would not discuss specifics. In case you’re not familiar with union negotiations: federal law allows union members to say just about anything they want in public during a negotiation. Management, however, is highly restricted on what they can say away from the negotiating table and they can never say anything that hasn’t been offered at the table. So, for example, a union member can tell the Voice that they want $10/hour whether they ever asked for $10 an hour at the table. Management, on the other hand, can’t say they want to offer $8/hour unless they have offered $8/hour. It’s a negotiation. You shouldn’t expect the University to do the negotiation through the press or in a public question and answer forum. No matter what you think of the University, “big business,” or management, you should respect that it is of no benefit to management to debate this in public.

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