The Associated Students of Madison University Affairs Committee unveiled its plans to establish a regular forum to discuss students’ concerns about safety on campus at a meeting Wednesday night.
An ASM statement said the body will begin holding formal meetings with campus police, the university, the press and student leaders to address campus safety.
Madison Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, and Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, reached out to student government about involving student leaders in campus safety discussions following a campus safety forum in September.
According to the statement, Resnick and Verveer both felt there should be an increase in regular discussions concerning campus safety in a manner similar to those held at the Campus Safety Forum.
“Resnick and Verveer have reached out to make a partnership with ASM to ensure that campus safety will continuously be discussed,” ASM University Affairs Chair Becca Buell said.
Buell said she met with Resnick Tuesday to discuss increasing communication between students on campus and city officials. She said they talked about creating a shared governance group that would include both Resnick and Verveer, University of Wisconsin police, city police and “specific” representatives from student organizations.
ASM Press Office Director David Gardner said after the campus safety forum, some stakeholders expressed concerns students were not always a part of the decisions made by campus safety officials.
Gardner said as discussions of campus safety moved forward, people were also concerned the actions being taken regarding campus safety were very reactive. He said students worried actions were often being taken in reaction to something that had already happened.
This inspired discussions as to how UW students can be more involved in campus safety decisions, Gardner said.
“The discussion that happened after the meeting was about how we can make a process in which students are a part of those decisions that campus safety marshals make,” Gardner said. “So that it is not just something that we hear about and then react to but rather that students, as a part of the shared governance process, are active in the decisions being made.”
He said ideally, when campus safety initiatives are enacted, students are aware of what is going on and why it is happening.
Gardner also said it is important that the press, aldermen, police and the university are a part of these discussions too, as they also represent the voice of the student body.
Buell said she hopes the shared governance style format for the forums will be established very soon.
Until the formal group starts meeting, Buell said the University Affairs Committee would be looking for opportunities to hold more forums and conversations concerning safety on campus.
“I’m really excited about this partnership,” Gardner said. “We would like to have regular meetings where we can post agendas and get people there to bring their concerns forward and also hear about what the police are considering so that we can be a part of that decision before that decision is made.”