A student government committee received updates on city issues as Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, and Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, joined the table for Monday evening’s meeting.
Speaking with Associated Students of Madison’s Legislative Affairs Committee, Verveer and Resnick gave an overview of important city measures that impact students in an effort to continue communication.
According to Verveer, with incidents reported almost every weekend, campus safety has become a prominent issue for the city of Madison this year.
“Obviously we have had a lot of issues with public safety on campus this year,” Verveer said. “From the perspective of the city government, we are all in this together – it is a partnership with UW police and other UW affiliates as well.”
In response to the incidents, Verveer said the city has provided $100,000 for a special group of police officers to work overtime in the downtown area, specifically the “entertainment” area of State Street.
In addition to the increase in police officers, Verveer added the city will also be doubling security cameras, a tool Verveer said was helpful in solving past incidents, like the attack on Montee Ball.
Both of these city measures are part of the Downtown Safety Initiative, which will be part of City Council’s budget talks in November.
Resnick, whose district encompasses much of the campus area, also made it clear city lighting is a crucial part of campus safety being addressed this year.
“In the last two years, we have seen new lighting in areas of N. Frances Street, areas of Spring Street and now Orchard Street has pedestrian height lighting,” Resnick said. “We are going to see more lighting on parts of areas of Langdon, Henry Street – those are the conversations we are having currently.”
Resnick added the Alderpersons and other community members were also going on a walk around the Spring Street neighborhood to assess the lighting and safety that night.
In reference to lighting on the Howard Termin Lakeshore path, Resnick said according to a university study, lighting on lakeshore has been known to cause more harm than good in regards to bicyclists.
However, Verveer said the idea of lighting on the Lakeshore path has been brought up by many students over the course of the years.
LAC Chair Daniel Statter also asked the aldermen to share achievements from their involvement with ASM as students at the University of Wisconsin.
Resnick said the majority of work done by ASM during his education was in regards to alcohol consumption and availability, noting the continuation of student representation on the Alcohol Licensing Review Committee demonstrates the achievement of ASM during his years as a UW student.
Freakfest was also brought up in the meeting, however, according to Verveer, the event’s impact on campus safety is “negligible,” now that it is a gated and ticketed event. Increased police will be allotted to manage the house parties, Verveer said.
Verveer said the Mifflin Street block party, however, is “all about campus safety” and should be an issue continually discussed with the students, despite Mayor Paul Soglin’s opinion on the event.