BY JESSICA JASPERSON
In mid-November student senate emailed a Public Safety survey to the entire student body, and the results are in.
Director of Public Safety, Greg Lemke, teamed with one of his officers, Shane Kelly, who is also the Student Senate’s Campus Affairs Chair. With the help of the campus affairs committee, Lemke and Kelly compiled an 11 question survey that was available for about a week for students to fill out anonymously.
After reading through the responses of 400 students, Public Safety is working toward addressing students’ issues. A frequent response in the survey is the parking on and around campus — a misconception of Public Safety’s control.
“A number of people don’t know some of the services that we provide, and what we do,” Lemke said. “So that shows me, from my end, that we’re not doing a good job of communicating. We need to address that and get the information out.”
Many students expressed concern about the ticket amount if a car is parked within a three block radius of MSUM for more than three hours. Public Safety does not enforce street ticketing. The city of Moorhead and the Moorhead police department enforce the parking on the streets.
Another misconception by students is how Public Safety uses permit and ticket revenue freely for expenses. Question 10 of the survey states, “Were you aware that parking lot services are self-sufficient? (Permit and ticket revenue is the only money allowable to be used for lot maintenance, snow removal, etc.)” About three-fourths of students answered, “No, I had no idea!”
After seeing these responses, Public Safety wants feedback on how to communicate with students. Dragon Mail email and the e2campus emergency messaging system are not sufficient enough to reach the entire student body.
“If there’s another way we could communicate with students, we’d like to know,” Lemke said.
Another response from the survey was about the amount of interaction Public Safety has with students. However, the limited amount of staff leaves little time during the day and at night to interact with students outside of their duties.
There are five full time sergeants, nine student patrol staff and 10-12 student staff who work in the office.
“Since I’ve started, I’ve tried to stress that they should get out into the buildings and walk around, but when you’re limited to one or two people, it’s not practical,” Lemke said. “Plus, we do security for M State, so it’s a challenge, but we’ve got to do the best we can with what we have.”
Public Safety is working toward setting up seminars or an open forum in order to communicate with students in a more personal way, Kelly said. After all, the overall purpose and goal of Public Safety is to make MSUM a safe environment. If the students and Public Safety don’t have a cooperative relationship with each other, the system can crumble easily.
“Some people probably feel that we have an “us” versus “them” mentality,” Kelly said. “I’d like to show everyone that it’s a we, it’s an us, it’s an MSUM. It’s not Public Safety versus student body — it never has been.”
Kelly wrote a letter addressing the constructive criticism and concerns expressed throughout the survey responses. Student Senate will be sending the letter out through Dragon Digest soon.
“We encourage that just because we did the survey, doesn’t mean we’re done,” Lemke said. “We do want input, and Shane has in his letter four different ways people can continue to communicate.”
Students can visit Public Safety’s website, email Lemke at firstname.lastname@example.org, email Kelly at email@example.com or contact Student Senate with comments or concerns.
“We can’t address a problem if we don’t know about it,” Kelly said. “A closed mouth does not get fed. So, if people have something they have an issue with, it’s our job to help them figure it out.”