SGA meets at 8 pm every Monday in Diana 2! Last night, to improve the sleep quality of meeting attendees who are in the middle of pre-break midterm season, SGA met in the cozy and dimly lit Altschul Atrium instead. Bureau Chief Leena Chen managed to stay awake long enough to report on the event.
In a very frank conversation last night, Gary Maroni, Director of Emergency Management and Antonio Gonzalez, Executive Director of Public Safety and Emergency spoke to SGA about their goals for safety at Barnard.
First and foremost, Gonzales underscored that “Our mission is to ensure that you have a safe, secure environment to study in” at Barnard. If students are feeling unsafe about any potential federal or state law enforcement presence on campus, then they should communicate their concerns directly to Public Safety or to another office, such as Title IX and Equity.
In particular, SGA representatives were concerned about the safety of diverse student populations, especially given the status of Barnard College as a sanctuary campus. Gonzales echoed their concerns, stating that “We value and protect our students and if ICE… comes on the campus, we want to be made aware. Any law enforcement that comes on campus has to interface with public safety.” Unfortunately, however, since our campus is a private property, Gonzales also clarified that “we have the same authority as civilians”, which means that Public Safety has limited ability to protect its student population against agencies such as ICE for fear of obstructing justice.
In general, Public Safety is hoping to initiate and maintain a better relationship with the students it serves, especially in light of potential misconceptions about their office. Current potential plans include a fun and relaxed meet-and-greet event with Public Safety officers with music and refreshments!