In a Nov. 19 press release, Michigan State University Police and Public Safety announced two new initiatives that they believe will “enhance the university’s commitment to Spartan’s safety”.
The first initiative is a Police and Public Safety Advisory Committee, which will develop a new “strategic outlook” for the department to address the specific safety needs of MSU’s campus.
According to the release, this committee was established on the recommendations of the Task Force on Racial Equity — a group that MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced in January 2021 to better address diversity, inclusion and equity issues.
“Some of those recommendations that were included in that report included more of a advisory board and more of a collaborative kind of body to help guide police and public safety efforts on campus,” Michigan State University Police Department Public Information Officer Chris Rozman said.
The committee will include faculty, students and staff from a variety of academic, administrative and organizational roles. It is co-chaired by two student representatives: Senior social relations and policy major Matt Apostle and junior comparative cultures and politics major Sujin Lee.
“Student representation is so important, especially those who identify as students of color,” Lee said in the release. “As a representative from the Multicultural Greek Council, I want to be able to be a voice of my community within this space as best as I can.”
Rozman said the initiative to form the committee started around May 2021, following task force recommendations.
“We had to wait for the school year to start to really identify the key stakeholders, including students because we wanted to make sure that we had significant student representation,” Rozman said.
The second initiative announced in the press release was the SafeMSU application— a mobile app that was proposed to ASMSU in September.
According to the release, a major feature of the app is a function that allows the user to share their location with a friend and have them “follow their progress to the destination.”
Other features include one-touch emergency calls, access to ASMSU Safe Ride and a link to the Capital Area Transportation Authority’s NightOwl service. Additionally, a form to send tips to police will be available.
“(The app) was based on feedback that we had received from the community, particularly our student body, about having a safety app,” Rozman said. “Because a lot of other large campuses have a safety app that they put into student’s hands.”
The app will only have functionality for the main, East Lansing MSU campus. The release said that later iterations will be made available in other MSU-owned locations across the state.
SafeMSU will be available on the Apple Store and Google Play store starting Dec. 13, 2021.
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