As the year progresses, one of several concerns raised by Goucher students has been the speed and urgency at which the Office of Campus Safety communicates issues to students. These concerns range from Campus Safety not addressing serious issues that affect the entire college, such as the recent contamination of the water supply, to sending alerts to students regarding issues that are more specific to a single dorm or area of campus.
Tiffany Justice, Director of Campus Safety, says that her office has not received any specific complaints regarding how they communicate. She notes that there are multiple methods that her office uses to communicate, including “Timely Warnings, Emergency Notifications, [and] Goucher Alerts”. According to Justice, each of these options can be sent through both email and/or text, and also have the ability to be made utilizing various screens on campus. Regarding the threshold for a problem to warrant warning the entire campus, she says that, “this is considered on a case by case basis. Some requirements and or thresholds are established by the Department of Education.”
Meanwhile, a survey of Goucher students* shows a mix of opinions on Campus Safety communications. 50% of students each agree that there have been times when there has been a major issue, either campus-wide or in their dorm area, and Campus Safety has failed to acknowledge/inform the community about it, and that there have been times when Campus Safety has sent a campus-wide alert over a relatively minor issue; the rest either disagree with the statement or are uncertain. More specific concerns include not responding quickly enough in time to an emergency, especially one that brings emergency vehicles to campus, as well as a “condescending tone.”
When asked about how they would change the way Campus Safety communicates with students, most agreed that the office needed to be faster in sending out information about emergencies, more honest and open, and not leave out important information. Meanwhile, one student brought up the CampusShield app, which they noted was underutilized by Goucher’s Campus Safety Office. They noted that if more people downloaded the app, “it could be worthwhile and useful for a way to securely report information to Goucher students.”
*Disclaimer: The survey discussed in this article was not sent out to a random or comprehensive sample of Goucher students, and therefore is not intended to be representative of opinions of the student population at large.
This piece was published as a student’s op-ed submission. The Quindecim is a space for all students within the Goucher community to express their views and beliefs. These pieces are released in the name of journalistic integrity and not in an attempt to antagonize or reflect the institution of Goucher as a whole.