SGA discusses campus violence

Student Government Association (SGA) heard two presentations at its March 25 meeting.

The first was from a representative of greenDOT, a model of campus violence prevention. The second was an open floor proposition from Mike Tracey, junior political science major, who advocated for the creation of a Campus Police Review board.

GreenDOT began at the University of Kentucky and was the project of Dorothy Edwards, director of the university’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Center.

“Women on campus face a disproportionately high chance of experiencing violence,” Edwards said.

She likened incidents of campus violence, sexual or otherwise, to red dots on a map, using the movie “Outbreak” as an example.

“Every action, behavior and decision that contributes to violence is a red dot,” Edwards said. “A single choice, behavior or action that actively and visibly contributes to safety is a green dot.”

She also said that in the three years greenDOT has been in place, studies conducted have shown that students exposed to greenDOT respond significantly better in “red dot situations,” though it will take another year of data collection to find out if the number of violent occurrences decrease.

“The problem is that potential green dots are staying passive,” Edwards said. “This is a challenge and a plea. Find a way to step into this initiative. If most of you in elected leadership positions walk away and say ‘it’s not my problem,’ I promise you the red dots will multiply.”

Edwards’ plea was met with general agreement by SGA.

“The speaker was dynamic. I think that (greenDOT) is something our campus can embrace,” Billy Plastine, SGA executive vice president, said.

After passing three bills and showing tremendous support for the creation of an informal Economics Club, SGA turned its collective eye to Tracey, who took advantage of the open floor to deliver a proposal.

“In the name of fostering a better relationship between students and police officers at the College of New Jersey, I propose the creation of a Campus Police Review Board,” Tracey said.

This suggestion was inspired by Tracey’s arrest at last month’s Ann Coulter lecture, though Tracey maintains that it would be a good idea even if it had never occurred.

“If a student has a complaint regarding police conduct, he or she must endure a long and cumbersome process,” Tracey said. He proceeded to question the practicality of having an institution be exclusively responsible for investigating itself.

“Where is the guarantee for transparency and accountability?” Tracey asked.

Tracey elaborated on what he had in mind for the board, using the University of California Berkeley’s Campus Police Review Board as an example.

“This board would be comprised of students, faculty, College administrative officials and law enforcement personnel. It would operate under the domain of the SGA, and the students who sit on the board would be elected by their peers,” Tracey said.

The proposition was met with generally positive regard from SGA.

“I think his proposal has the potential to enhance the relationship between students and the Campus Police as honesty and integrity become the prime motivating factors for all involved,” Joshua Breslin, sophomore class vice president, said.