University Council Minutes

October 18, 1999

Present: Bob Bates, Greg Brown, Ben Dixon, Peter Eyre, Eileen Hitchingham, Jennie Reilly, Mary Ann Lewis (for Janet Johnson), Paul Knox, Peggy Meszaros, Carole Nickerson, John Eaton (for Len Peters), Lisa Wilkes (for Minnis Ridenour), Mode Johnson (for Ray Smoot), Rich Sorensen, Charles Steger, Bill Stephenson, Andy Swiger, Tom Tillar, Cindy Harrison, Pat Hyer, Mitzi Vernon, Julia Beamish, Irene Leech, Terry Herdman, Sean Blackburn, Jay Sullivan, Joe Hunnings, Richard Bambach, Paul Metz, Tim Pratt, John Hillison, Rebecca Crittenden, Pat Devens, John Williams (for Suzanne Murrmann), John Seiler, Rodney Gaines, Pete Martens, Donna Cassell, Delbert Jones, James Martin (for Ben Poe), Kimberly DeGuise, Tomoya Ochinero, Mike Whipple, Shawn Breck, Taj Mahon-Haft, Aaron McClung, Laurie Steneck, Peter Zippelius

Absent: Erv Blythe, Landrum Cross, Paul Torgersen, Skip Fuhrman, Kamal Rojiani, Deborah Mayo, Dan Connolly, John Randolph, Sam Hicks, Jovette Gadson, Bernard Feldman, Anita Haney, Aaron Hill, Drew Lichtenberger

Guests: Police Chief Mike Jones, Debbie Morgan-Accreditation Officer, Denise Linkenhoker-Administrative Procedures Specialist

  1. Adoption of Agenda

    A motion was made and seconded to adopt the agenda. The motion carried.

  2. Announcement of approval and posting of Council Minutes of October 4, 1999

    Dr. Meszaros noted that the minutes from the October 4, 1999, University Council meeting have been voted on and approved electronically. Once voted upon, University Council minutes can be publicly accessed on the Governance Information System on the WEB. (/)

  3. Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:

  4. Discussion

    Virginia Tech Campus Safety Facts and Issues Mike Jones, Virginia Tech Police Chief

    Mr. Mike Jones gave an overview of the Virginia Tech Police Department structure, programs, mandates and led discussion regarding Virginia Tech campus safety facts and issues. The overview included department structure, administrative responsibilities, and the responsibility of the Administrative Lieutenant. Virginia Tech has a full-time member on the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Other members of this task force include representatives from the State Police, Montgomery County Police, Blacksburg Police and Christiansburg Police.

    The Patrol Division has four full-time shifts. They operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 12-hour swing shifts. Lieutenant, sergeant and four officers are assigned to each shift. In addition we have two full-time communication officers in the dispatch room and two security guards that lock buildings and conduct fire checks after hours.

    The Dorm Watch programs include additional 4-5 people who monitor dormitories with communication and radio contact to report any problems or concerns. The Escort Service - 231-SAFE, is operated at the Cage and includes a van driven by students to transport students on campus and operates from dusk to dawn. An average of 28,000 people use this service per year. Building Security Program is funded by the department requesting an additional person and is overseen by Virginia Tech Police Department.

    Virginia Tech Police was granted accreditation in November of 1995 after completing 367 standards ranging from organizational structure, how we file reports, hours of operations, communication centers, security, etc. Virginia Tech is one of only 23 universities in the nation to receive accreditation and is scheduled for reaccredidation in September 2000.

    The Jeanne Cleary Act, Higher Education Reauthorization Bill, deals with Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act. Congress mandated to the university as a whole the responsibility to report crimes. This came about because in the late 1980's, Jeanne Cleary was murdered at Lehigh University after asking numerous times to have the locks changed and the university chose not to address the issue. Everyone has a federally mandated responsibility to report the following to the Police Department: murder, sex offences, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, hate crimes. Crimes not reported carry a $25,000 fine for each instance. These standards must also be maintained at branch campuses such as Northern Virginia and European Studies in Switzerland, research facilities, etc.

    An increase in property, drug and alcohol related crimes is seen about every five years. There has been an increase in vandalism and alcohol violations. Part of the federal mandate is that information pertaining to crimes be posted on a daily basis for public access. Virginia Tech sends this information to administrators, TV, radio, and publications. Larceny crimes are greater at the university because of accessibility, such as dorm room doors left open and property left unattended.

    In response to a question regarding sex crimes, Mike Jones commented that the large majority of the students are here to get an education. Our geographical location creates a safer environment; however, people need to be aware of their surroundings and take steps to reduce personal risk.

    Additional questions brought the following responses:

    Mike Jones explained that we have 43 security phones and need 150 to make the campus comfortable. A concern was expressed that the phones we have are not easily seen or handicapped accessible. Chief Jones suggested concerns regarding phones be directed to Scott Hurst, University Architecture. Campus maps showing the location of emergency phones are available at the Virginia Tech Police Department.

    Blacksburg and Virginia Tech police departments have a mutual aid agreement and work very closely together. There are defined boundaries, but if Virginia Tech needs to handle issues in Blacksburg or if Blacksburg Police need to come on campus, this is acceptable through the mutual aid agreement. Alcohol violations in the Town of Blacksburg are reported to Virginia Tech Judicial Affairs.

    Transients on campus generally do not pose a threat. However, if there is a concern, they are referred to RAFT or St. Albans.

    Traffic directing at intersections depends on officer availability. There is the possibility of a change in some traffic patterns and therefore there is hesitation to install traffic lights. There is an effort made to try to have someone directing traffic at 8, 12 and 5. 62,000 service calls a year come through the communication center.

    In response to a concern regarding dim lights on campus, Mike Jones said that electric service is working on upgrading the lighting system.

    In response to a question regarding safety on the Huckleberry Trail, Mike Jones commented that it is relatively safe during the day. There is some concern at night. There is a new program where single purpose cellular phones can be picked up at one of the two gyms, Police Department or the Women's Center. People are encouraged to pick up a phone when they are out walking, jogging, etc.

    Bomb threats are infrequent and usually come in on test days. Student attendance is monitored and police are usually able to identify the caller.

  5. Dr. Meszaros adjourned the meeting at 3:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Nickerson
Executive Assistant to the President


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