Safety committee on unstable ground
By Mark Brown
Although University Students' Council President Ian Armour was busy shmoozing with the prime minister at Monday night's Liberal Party fundraiser, he was still able to fulfill one of his campaign promises.
The Campus Safety Committee met for the first time Monday night but its continued existence will depend on its ability to increase its scope, Armour said.
Peter Hill, USC VP-campus issues, who chaired the committee in Armour's absence, called the meeting a success. "It was an informative discussion that covered a wide range of issues."
Still, he added, there was some concern the committee was duplicating the work of existing groups such as the President's Committee on the Safety of Women.
Although Fiona Hart, chair of the President's Committee thought it was good to see some of the various players at the table, she said she was not sure it is necessary at this time. "We should build on what is already there instead of starting new committees."
The USC will now look at widening the committee to include more students and more representation from the affiliated colleges, Hill said.
The meeting explored the need for a campus safety audit. The initial audit was completed eight or nine years ago, explained Insp. Bob Earle of the University Police Department. The audit provides the UPD a benchmark to see what has been done and determine what needs to be addressed, he added.
Members of the committee also toyed with the idea of applying for financial support through a new funding program offered by the federal government.
The federal government offers $32 million annually to help establish crime prevention programs and safety initiatives within a community, Hill said. Before an application is made, the fate of the committee has to be decided, he added.
The goal was to facilitate communication between various groups who have an interest on campus, Armour said. "I'm willing to let [the committee] fall by the wayside, at least we got everyone to get together to talk about campus safety."
Amour said this does not mean he has lost interest in campus safety, adding he will continue to work with the various groups to promote it.