Assistant Vice President of Public Safety and Chief of Police Jeffrey Besong answered questions on Monday from members of United Student Government (USG) about campus safety and security during the weekly meeting.
“I am here to answer any questions you may have in regards to public safety, in its entirety, or specifically PointALERT, locking down more, getting the word out,” Besong said regarding his goal at the meeting.
Since Monday, the doors to Lawrence Hall are locked around the clock, leaving students to use their ID cards to gain entrance.
Security for guests and visitors are also going to change. Guests brought into buildings with a Point Park student will continue to sign in as usual in Pioneer Hall, Conestoga Hall and Boulevard Apartments.
Guests of students in Thayer and Lawrence Hall will have to sign in at Academic Hall’s front desk. A security guard will be present at the front desks from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in every dorm building. Visitors with appointments with faculty members will also sign in at Academic Hall.
“It is very tough to secure the entire campus; we don’t want it to end up like a penitentiary,” Besong said. “We want it to be an open free campus, however, we still want to make sure we are secure.”
USG President Bobby Bertha inquired if other buildings on campus would follow Boulevard Apartments and require students to scan their IDs in the elevator to reach their desired floor. However, other buildings will not implement the idea due to the cost.
Campus police has an on-campus presence with two officers on duty per shift.
Besong also explained that campus police have a different job than city police. If a Point Park student gets in trouble, the campus police treat it as a learning moment instead of hitting the student with citations and charges. He explained that their job is to keep students and faculty safe as well as unlocking classrooms and escorting commuting students when they don’t feel safe walking alone.
Point Park Police jurisdiction is from Fort Pitt Boulevard to Forbes Avenue and Stanwix to Smithfield Streets. They also cover the Mon Wharf, Market Square and certain parts of Oakland. After completion of the new Pittsburgh Playhouse on Forbes Avenue, their jurisdiction will extend towards Liberty Avenue .
PointALERT was another topic Besong covered. PointALERT is an emergency alert system that is required by the Department of Education. Emergency alerts are sent out to students and faculty if the administration deems an issue is a threat to campus. If they fail to send out an alert and the incident happens on campus, the administration would be at fault for not protecting students.
While the campus police are not required to send a PointALERT for every incident on campus, they send a crime report to the Globe every week.
Another program available to students is the PointParkPD Tips app. Students can use the app to send tips of suspicious activity they witness on campus.
After the Q&A, USG moved on to club approvals, funding appeals and supplemental funding. The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and Student Leaders for Animal Ethics were approved to be recognized by the legislative body.
The Anime Club, Forensic Science Club, John P. Harris Society, Not On My Campus and Strong Women Strong Girls reached funding appeals.
IEEE was allocated $127 out of the appealed $220, the motion was carried unanimously. The Student Accounting Association was allocated no funding after missing the deadline for the budget.
Next week’s meeting on Oct. 2 will be held in Lawrence Hall 200 and will be the first of four meetings held in higher traffic spaces on campus.