There is a perception that crime on and around campus is increasing, according to Director of Campus Safety John Schlaf, but he said the numbers do not necessarily support that perception.
Schlaf gave his annual report to the Student Life Committee (SLC) Tuesday during its regular meeting, citing some crime statistics from the annual Cleary report. But Schlaf said it is the perception of crime that really matters.
“The perception of safety, crime and a sense of well-being for our own community as well as the Galesburg community is critical,” Schlaf said. “It really doesn’t matter what the numbers say. What’s critical is what people feel.”
Schlaf mentioned the spike in alcohol-related arrests and hospital transports at the beginning of the term as something that stood out to him, but he speculated that the increase could be attributed to more awareness and responsibility for others.
“As we and you continue to talk about and encourage intervention by each other, the end result may be that somebody who may not have gone to the hospital in a previous year went to the hospital this year because someone felt it was critical that that person receive medical attention,” Schlaf said, “and I see that as a positive sign.”
Schlaf said the Cleary report numbers for robberies (between zero and two from 1998 to 2010) and sexual assault (which decreased from six in 2009 to four in 2010) remained relatively flat from previous years. There was a decrease in burglaries, which generally do not follow a trend, from 12 in 2009 to four in 2010.
Schlaf also said there is some information on the Campus Safety web page about previous sexual assault offenders, and his office is working to get a link to some external information about offenders in the area.
Interim Student Senate Treasurer post-baccalaureate Maxwell Galloway-Carson ’11 brought to the committee the issue of whether the school should consider switching email services from Zimbra to Gmail, an issue that has already seen some discussion in Senate.
“There was pretty strong support in Senate about that,” Galloway-Carson said, “particularly, I think, because most people’s secondary email is Gmail. We’re all very familiar with it, and we would like institutional access to all of the apps in the Google suite.”
Galloway-Carson said those in the Computer Center have expressed that they would not support the switch, but he maintained that it would be a worthwhile change, noting that students pay about $70 per year for the Zimbra service, whereas Gmail would be free.
Professor of Theatre and SLC chair Elizabeth Carlin-Metz said the committee would take up a study of the proposed change, and a conversation would be held with Director of Information Technology Services Steve Hall and Senior Associate Director of Information Technology Services Steve Jones.
Members of the committee presented some possible concerns about the switch, including privacy of emails and compliance with FERPA, contractual issues (the college has a contract with Zimbra, whereas it may not with Google) and functionality issues with distribution lists and comparability with the software used in the Office of the Registrar.
The committee also revisited the issue of pricing for event catering by Dining Services. Assistant Director of Campus Life Jillian Gates updated the committee about trying to figure out a compromise with Dining Services.
Gates said she talked with Director of Dining Services Helmut Mayer about clubs’ ability to have catered events during which attending students could use a meal swipe to pay for the food. After her recent conversation with Mayer, she said he is working on an average price for a meal part of which would be covered by the student’s meal swipe and the club sponsoring the event would pick up the rest of the cost.
SLC meets every Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Borzello Hall 116. Its meetings are open to the public.