Dean of students dispels campus rumors

Sam Stephenson, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Dean of Students Joseph DiChristina presented and discussed several items at the Oct. 21 Allegheny Student Government Meeting. DiChristina dispelled rumors of the Meadville Police and Safety and Security cooperative agreement, talked about the ASG security camera resolution and presented the Student Conduct Report.

Along with DiChristina, Jeffrey Schneider, head of safety and security, Jacquie Kondrot, associate dean of students and sexual harassment officer, and Joe Hall, director of student conduct and development, were all in attendance to answer questions.

DiChristina spoke at length about the cooperative agreement between the Meadville Police and the Safety and Security Office and said that campus security has no new powers they have not already had for quite some time. The cooperative agreement has been in effect since 2005 and was signed on June 18, 2014. The agreement can be found online at the dean of students’ website.

The cooperative agreement outlines the roles of both the Safety and Security Office and those of the Meadville Police. Primarily, Safety and Security investigate summary non-traffic violations which include underage drinking, disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness, thefts classified as summary violations or misdemeanors 1, 2 and 3 under $2,000, criminal mischief summary violations or misdemeanor 3 under $500, and harassment or misdemeanor 3 under $500.

There hasn’t been anything from us asking for more patrols and nothing from the chief asking his officers to do more patrols.”

— Joseph DiChristina

According to Title 22 act 501, nonprofit organizations have all the powers of a police officer in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This Act was originally passed in 1972 and most recently amended in 2004. Since Schneider arrived at Allegheny in 2010, only one arrest has been made.

ASG senators relayed concerns from constituents about police being especially aggressive towards students. DiChristina and Schneider were unaware of any concerns of police over extending their boundaries on campus. Schneider followed up with Meadville Police Chief Eric Young.

“The next day [following the ASG meeting] Jeff [Schneider] called the chief and inquired if somehow there’s been more patrols in the area that we were unaware of,” DiChristina said. “The answer is ‘no,’ there hasn’t been anything from us asking for more patrols and nothing from the chief asking his officers to do more patrols.”

Both Schneider and DiChristina credited the possible enhanced presence to the new, younger officers in the department.

According to DiChristina, there has been no increase in citations than what they have experienced in the past. So far, there have been approximately six to 10 citations given to Allegheny students by the Meadville police.

Another topic discussed by DiChristina was the ASG resolution that would give ASG the opportunity to vote on all placements of security cameras on campus. The resolution was presented to DiChristina and he ensured that no decision would be made without the consultation of student government.

“Certainly ASG can make their vote,” DiChristina said. “I don’t see cameras going up without a consensus that’s in line with what ASG either now, or in the future, is looking for in terms of what they sense is a safety issue where they would believe a camera would be most useful or not most useful. Certainly my point is that we will dialogue, we’ll participate in conversation with ASG and if at the end ASG wants to make a vote that is their choice. Certainly, I will be present for all conversations.”

While topics like the ASG resolution and Meadville Police rumors were a part of the discussion, the conversation was more geared towards the annual Student Conduct Report. The report highlights, among other things, non-academic and academic infractions from the past five academic years, fall of 2009 to spring of 2014.

Though multiple administrators were in attendance to answer questions, less than 10 constituents attended the meeting.

According to Autumn Vogel, vice president of ASG, the meeting was not well advertised because they were unaware of exactly DiChristina would be reporting.

“The outreach didn’t necessarily happen for this last meeting that Joe [DiChristina] was present for,” Vogel said. “We also didn’t realize that he would be presenting what he did and that it would call for so many people.”

This coming week, Katie Pope, Allegheny’s Title IX coordinator, will be at the meeting to discuss her role on campus and Professor of History Ian Binnington will be at the meeting to discuss the new proposed additions to the curriculum.

The meeting will be in the Campus Center Lobby at 7 p.m. on Nov. 4.

The Student Conduct Report lists non-academic and academic infractions from five academic years, fall 2009 to Spring 2014.

The Campus will feature a more in-depth story on The Student Conduct Report in next week’s issue.

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