This semester, students, staff and faculty have been working together to reinstate the Public Safety Advisory Council. The reinstatement of this Council is based on the principle of open communication between students and Public Safety and aims to keep students as safe as possible.
The Board was developed by past student trustee Maurielle Stewart. With the unexpected administration turnover and interim leadership in the office of Public Safety, the Council was suspended. Michael Killius, senior and current student trustee says that “this semester, students made it clear that the working relationship between students and Public Safety needed improvement, and that campus safety should be an effort where all are informed and involved.”
The PS Advisory Council’s goal is to improve campus safety by strengthening the working relationship between students and Public Safety staff. Director of Public Safety, Sean Tallarico, is excited to be involved with students. He says that student involvement is essential to his job and his office. He hopes that “the more students understand the role of Public Safety the more we can be seen as a positive resource, to me the best way to provide that understanding is through open communication.”
Director Tallarico suggests that students become involved and communicate with Public Safety. He finds that “students who are engaged with Public Safety come away with a better understanding of our role on campus and that we are more than just some tool that the Administration uses to stop them from having fun.” But the benefit doesn’t stop there. Direct communication also allows Public Safety to the student’s “side of an issue” says Tallarico, “and hopefully when we listen to students concerns we can craft programs and responses that create a more cohesive and inclusive environment.”
There is great passion to keep St. Mary’s students safe. Killius says that reviving the council “will be a great start in resolving some very important concerns.” The council is composed of student trustee Michael Killius, Bethany Yates representing Residence Life, Demara Austin on behalf of the Black Student Union, Student Athlete Advisory Committee’s Olivia Edwards, both Jake Whol and Carly Lewis for the SGA and public safety officers. “Anyone can contact these members with suggestions” says Killius.
Junior Monica Claro feels that she will be well represented by the Council. “I’m glad there is direct involvement between student representatives and PS. I think that communication is key to keeping our students safe!”
Tallarico and Killius are both excited to be involved with the board. Killius believes that the council will be able to “improve the general day-to-day relationship and interactions between students and Public Safety staff” with a more open communication and a student voice.
Tallarico is also hopeful that the Advisory Board will be able to improve student-public safety relations. He says that “It was very evident this year that students are concerned about maintaining St. Mary’s as a safe place to be and the role of the Advisory Board will go a long way in providing that environment.”