While Boston University Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore has offered safety town hall meetings to students living both on-campus and off-campus this year, few students have attended the talks, BU officials said.
Assistant to the Dean of Students Katherine Cornetta said Elmore has partnered with representatives from the BU Police Department to host two meetings for on-campus students and two meetings for off-campus students since the beginning of the semester.
“We wanted to start creating that dialogue earlier and get ahead of problems that we don’t all see every day but affect students living in the community,” Cornetta said. “The sooner we can find out those concerns, the sooner we can address them.”
Ten to 12 students showed up to each of the town hall meetings for off-campus students, which took place Sept. 25 at Tavern in the Square and Oct. 9 at T’s Pub, Cornetta said.
However, few students have appeared at the on-campus safety meetings Sept. 23 in Warren Towers and Oct. 18 at the School of Hospitality Administration, Cornetta said.
“We realize that the numbers are probably going to be low because if there’s not a major safety issue affecting the campus community, it’s hard to find students that want to spend some of their valuable time talking to the Dean of Students,” she said. “We understand that it might take a while to get attendance up.”
At the most recent Oct. 18 gathering for students living on-campus, a student representative from South Campus attended to voice concerns of other students that were unable to come to the meeting. The student representative discussed traffic safety and signage issues in the South Campus area with officials, Cornetta said.
Although specific dates have not yet been decided for November, Elmore will continue with the safety town hall meetings, Cornetta said.
BUPD Deputy of Public Safety Scott Paré said he has attended each of the safety town halls with BUPD Chief of Police Thomas Robbins and will attend any that take place in the future.
Students attending the off-campus town halls discussed traffic and pedestrian safety issues in the Brookline area, Paré said.
Elmore’s town hall meetings give students the opportunity to bring up issues of their own in discussion and create a relationship with BUPD, Paré said.
“It would be a good time for students to meet with us to express any concerns that they may see around campus,” he said. “We look at it from a police perspective of what we think is important, but we want to hear from the students about what they see or what their needs would be and where they want us to focus our resources.”
School of Education sophomore Dominique Bray, who lives on-campus in Claflin Hall, said she would most likely not attend the town hall meetings because she has no particular safety concerns regarding West Campus.
“I don’t think it would be beneficial for me personally because I don’t feel unsafe, but maybe for other people who are having a more difficult time with the transition into college,” she said.
School of Management senior Emili Nirmala, who lives on-campus in a brownstone on Beacon Street, said the meetings are more helpful for students living off-campus.
“In terms of safety, I don’t think there have been any issues that I am aware of,” she said. “I don’t have any particular concerns that I want to talk about.”
Allston resident Alexandra Newman, a College of Arts and Sciences junior, said she would not go to the town halls because she has lived in Allston for three years and never felt unsafe.
“You have to be responsible and there has to be a level of awareness,” she said. “Maybe people who just moved to the area or people who have never lived in a city before may not understand that. It’s nice that it’s offered for students that might need it, but I don’t feel like I need it.”