DPSS talks new initiatives with CSG

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 12:07am

Representatives from the University’s Division of Public Safety and Security briefed Central Student Government on new initiatives aimed at preventing alcohol and drug abuse on campus and aiding survivors of sexual assault. The assembly also discussed CSG’s ongoing initiative to keep dining halls opening earlier on football game days.

Prevention of alcohol abuse by minors

Bryan Baker, the DPSS liaison to student life, said the division’s goals for reducing alcohol abuse by minors on campus will be attained through several new initiatives.

One such effort is a plain clothes detail. Officers have already been patrolling campus in plain clothes and distributing minor in possession tickets. The detail began this year and is funded through a special grant.

DPSS officer Justin Berent said the detail was not conceived as an undercover operation to trick underage students.

“We always have some kind of badge,” Berent said. “Not entrapment, it’s just reducing underage drinking.”

Special Victims Unit

Berent has been with DPSS for five years and is now a member of the UMPD Special Victims Unit, which is dedicated to responding to and investigating cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and child abuse.

The unit comprises of five officers trained to handle various emergency situations and who also receive specific training for dealing with trauma.

“If you’re involved in a traumatic event, we know how your body and your mind responds to that,” Berent said.

Baker asked CSG to spread the word about other new resources provided by DPSS with students in mind, including statistical information about past crimes and a new resource guide, titled Our Community Matters. The guide, released by DPSS in August, provides information about a survivor’s rights in an assault case and details next steps for after the incident.

Resolution on increased funding for early game day dining

A resolution to fund CSG’s pilot game day dining program was proposed Tuesday.

The effort is a joint initiative with Michigan Dining to open dining halls earlier on game days to provide students access to food before tailgating activities.

CSG’s finance committee reported that the program has resulted in significant financial loses for Michigan Dining, and funding support from CSG would help ensure the program continues.

CSG President Cooper Charlton, an LSA senior, requested the assembly allocate $250 from the Executive Discretionary fund and another $250 from the Legislative Discretionary fund for each game day, but members deemed those provisions inadequate.

Ultimately, the resolution suggests $3,000 in funds from the Legislative Discretionary and $4,000 from the Executive Discretionary fund will be allocated to the program. The funds will help cover staffing costs and food supplies. Opening the dining halls early on game days costs Michigan Dining about $3,300 in additional expenditures.

CSG treasurer Kevin Ziegler, a Business senior, said more than 2,600 students have benefitted from the pilot program since its inception last month.

“The highlight of this program is the safety and well-being of students on this campus, which I think everyone in this room can get behind,” he said.

Public Policy sophomore Jacob Pearlman, CSG student general counsel, said the program was a high priority for CSG members and that they should encourage more students to show up for early game day dining, in part by reaching out to student organizations.

“The more swipes, the better it looks,” Pearlman said.

Bursley Residence Hall, the Hill Dining Center and South Quad Residence Hall will open at 9:30 a.m. for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game against Northwestern instead of their normal 10:30 a.m. opening.

Alcohol consumption in Munger Graduate Residences

Dentistry student Alexander Ziegler proposed drafting a resolution to allow residents of the Munger Graduate Residences to consume alcohol in their own hall.

The newly opened Munger Graduate Residence exclusively accommodates graduate students, a large number of whom are older than 21 and can legally drink and possess alcohol.

Ziegler said Michigan Housing informed the residents that alcohol would only be permitted in the lounges or dorm rooms. The rule, he said, restricts the ability of the community members to drink in any other meeting room or communal area within the residence hall.

“Last weekend, there was supposed to be a Medical School event and they were told shortly before the event that they could not have alcohol, which forced 80 to 100 people into an apartment,” Ziegler said.

Correction appended: The Hill Dining Center will also open early on Saturday.