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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Police, students meet, discuss public safety

Published: February 4, 2011
Section: News

PHOTO BY Nafiz R “Fizz” Ahmed/The Hoot

Student and police participated in a discussion about how to improve their relations and ease tension from last semester on Thursday afternoon in the Shapiro Campus Center.

The Office of Student Rights and Advocacy and the Student Union worked together to host the event, where Ed Callahan, Director of Public Safety advised students to raise any concerns or ask any questions they had about public safety procedures.

The event was planned as an effort to reflect on concerns regarding an incident where university police officers arrested two students and charged them with assault and battery of a police officer on Oct. 23, 2010 the night of Pachanga, said Ariel Glickman ’13, one of the organizers of the event.

Bette Reilly from the Department of Public Safety and Dean Gendron, director of Student Rights and Community Standards, also participated in the discussion.

Callahan served on the university’s ad-hoc Alcohol Advisory Committee, which was formed by former university President Jehuda Reinharz following the nine transports to local hospitals for alcohol intoxication the night of Oct. 23.

Administrators understand that students can feel stressed and overwhelmed at college, but Callahan said they expect that alcohol, when consumed will be used with caution and not excess.

“You’re all intelligent if you get into this school, so the expectation is that you be smart in your personal alcohol use,” Callahan said.

“The purpose of this event was really to ameliorate relations between the police and the student body,” Glickman said.

Callahan said that university police must cooperate with the administration and perform their jobs, mindful of the fact that they are on a university campus.

“It’s like any system and organization,” Callahan said. “There’s a system of rules and regulations that you have to follow.”

He said that included acknowledging the sensitivity of certain incidents and determining the most appropriate course of action for dealing with students involved.

“We’re here to be more of an educator than an enforcer,” Callahan said.

“The Brandeis police [are] very forthcoming to have a conversation with the student body,” Tae Kim ’12 said.

Kim explained that often students behave as if their actions at Brandeis face different consequences than if they were off campus.

“The students have this thought of the Brandeis bubble,” Kim said.