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The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

SGA approves new public safety committee

File+-+Paria+Ghaderi%2C+a+victim+of+one+of+the+assaults+on+the+Lincoln+Park+campus+April+13%2C+speaks+at+a+Student+Government+Association+meeting+%28SGA%29+meeting+May+11.+Ghaderi+told+her+story+at+the+Public+Safety+Town+Hall+in+May.
Kiersten Riedford
File – Paria Ghaderi, a victim of one of the assaults on the Lincoln Park campus April 13, speaks at a Student Government Association meeting (SGA) meeting May 11. Ghaderi told her story at the Public Safety Town Hall in May.

Student Government Association approved a new Public Safety Ad Hoc committee during their general body meeting Sept. 14. SGA leaders hope the committee will help push campus safety initiatives they have previously championed, such as a closed campus policy, faster and more detailed public safety alerts and expanding Vinnie Van boundaries. 

“We’re hopeful this committee will give the rest of the university a channel they can go to, to actually student feedback that I don’t feel like is being heard,” said Parveen Mundi, a junior and SGA president.

Public Safety said three DePaul students were robbed on the Lincoln Park campus on Sept. 9 which furthered discussion about public safety. These concerns were addressed at the Campus Safety Summit. Victoria Tuvaan, SGA executive vice president (EVP) for Academic Affairs and Adora Alava, SGA EVP for diversity and equity, proposed the committee in response to these continued student concerns about public safety. 

Mundi said the committee will give students and the SGA more of a voice on “a really pressing issue.”

Ad hoc committees, like the public safety one proposed by Tuvaan and Alava, are specifically designed to address a single issue. Previous ad hoc committees focused on university issues like mental health and undocumented students. Any student, even those outside the SGA, can join the committee. Tuvaan and Alava hope the committee puts further responsibility on DePaul administration’s safety initiatives.

Avery Schoenhals, a junior and SGA vice president, said the DePaul community needs to change the way it thinks about public safety.

“The conversation needs to shift away from policing because [that] isn’t really the issue,” Schoenhals said. “We should be pushing for more infrastructure so that we don’t need people asking for IDs or coming up to students in their classrooms.” 

Tuvaan and Alava will not be chairing the ad hoc committee. Alava hopes this decision will mean new members of SGA have opportunities to pursue fundamental change in the DePaul community. 

More Ad hoc committees will be established as the year goes on and issues come up within the university. 

“We wanted to make sure that new senators had a voice in this committee,” Alava said. “I’ve been in SGA since my freshman year [and] I’ve seen the power that committees hold. I already see a lot of faces in SGA that seem very passionate about this.”

Mundi hopes this committee will fast-track improvements in public safety measures that the university says it will complete by March 2024.

Schoenhals hopes this safety committee will be a dedicated way to unify students and university employees on an issue that is of concern to many. 

“We hope to have a representative from the Public Safety office on [the committee] so that there’s actually an employee from the office hearing from the students on the committee directly,” Schoenhals said.

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