BU president highlights campus safety measures during quarterly Trustees meeting

For immediate release: June 6, 2007

BLOOMSBURG — In the first Council of Trustees meeting since the tragedy at Virginia Tech, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania President Jessica Kozloff spoke Wednesday, June 6, about the safety measures in place at BU and possible future steps to keep students, faculty and staff safe.

A task force on security issues convened immediately after the fatal shootings in Virginia found that BU currently has strong processes in place, she said. BU police undergo extensive training in ways to respond to campus emergencies and several methods are available for communicating emergency messages with students, faculty and staff, including e-mail, the university Web site and the BeSafe hotline, 389-2723. Also, Preston Herring, vice president for university and student affairs, heads a response team to meet with students whom faculty, staff or other students believe may be in a crisis situation, often referring the students to the university’s counseling center.

Additional procedures the task force wants to explore include sending text messages to cell phones or computers, installing a siren to alert members of the campus community of an emergency and upgrading and expanding security in campus buildings. Another recommendation – to develop emergency training for faculty, staff and students – will be implemented later this year.

Herring then gave an overview of the university’s disciplinary policies, outlining the cooperative relationship between BU and the Town of Bloomsburg. Herring spoke of on-campus hearings – informal for minor offenses, which make up about 95 percent of all infractions, and formal for serious offenses – related to incidents that occur both on campus and off campus. He also listed the disciplinary avenues available, ranging from warnings to suspension. Herring said the student standards office handled 711 incidents in the past year – 384 on campus and 327 off campus. Sixty percent were related to minor alcohol violations, he added.

He also talked about the block party held in late April, stating that 76 percent of the 153 citations were issued to non-BU students. Of the 36 BU students cited for block party-related offenses, 70 percent have been adjudicated, he said.

“The majority of our students are wonderful citizens, even if they went to the block party,” said Kozloff. “What we’re dealing with here is that Bloomsburg University has become a destination party site.”

Kozloff praised the maturity of student leaders and the work of Bloomsburg Police Chief Leo Sokoloski, who she said “combines fairness with respect.”

In another report to the Trustees, Eric Milner, assistant vice president for facilities, outlined the progress in construction of new student housing on BU’s upper campus, currently in the design phase. Bids for the 544-bed complex will be opened in November and construction is scheduled to begin in February 2008 with completion set for August 2009. The plans call for three, four-story apartment buildings, plus a community center. When the project is completed, about 1,200 BU students will reside on the upper campus, Kozloff said.

In other matters:

  • Trustees approved the annual resolution on the inspection of facilities. The resolution, to be forwarded to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s office in Harrisburg, affirms that “buildings and structures are being properly maintained and are in good working order and…that lawn, flower, shrubbery, tree and recreation areas were attractive and well-maintained.”
  • Trustee Joseph Mowad, chair of the presidential search committee, said the search for BU’s next president is on schedule. Committee members will meet with the consultant in mid-July to review the credentials of all applicants and select 10 to 12 to meet in Philadelphia during a three-day period in early August. Five or six candidates will be invited to campus in late August or early September and the names of three of those candidates will be forwarded to PASSHE Chancellor Judy Hample for the final selection. Following this schedule, a new president should be in place in December, he said.
  • Bloomsburg businessman David W. Klingerman Sr. was welcomed as the newest member of the Council of Trustees. Klingerman replaces David Petrosky of Daleville, a Trustee since 1995, whose service was recognized with a resolution.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.