by Amber Neri
A security audit was conducted on the ULV campus by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administration (IACLEA) earlier this week.
The three-day inspection marked a process of expert consultation to determine whether there is anything that can or should be done to improve safety on campus. This has been the first safety audit in at least six years.
Former ULV Vice President of Administration and Finance Bruce Baron had first investigated the possibility of the IACLEA team coming out to perform the audit before his resignation.
“In order to improve our safety and security for all of the campus,” said Dr. Loretta Rahmani, acting dean of student services in giving the reason for the audit.
It was Dr. Rahmani that contacted John Carpenter, chief of university police for San Diego State University who performed the audit along with James Huffman, director of public safety at Pepperdine University. IACLEA was then contracted to visit and audit the University.
Dr. Rahmani expects that ULV will be looking at minor improvements in safety communications, procedures, and staffing issues.
“We will make statements and then a list of realistic recommendations on things to improve on. Some will be brief, and some elaborate, but the front of the report will have an executive summary of just recommendations,” said Carpenter.
“It is up to the University to review and approve of our suggestions, now or in the future,” said Huffman.
The audit results will be given to President Stephen Morgan in a couple of weeks and IACLEA’s recommendations will be delivered to ULV in about a month.
The audit debriefing of the survey results took place on Wednesday morning in the Student Resource Center Conference Room with Director of Public Safety Robert Rodriguez, Dr. Len Hightower, dean of student services, and Dr. Rahmani. The IACLEA team gave the expected recommendations; improving internal operations and communication within the Public Safety Department, external communications and more crime prevention seminars.
The University is not in a crisis area for safety, because of the low incidence rate and safety implementation.
“We are not in a crisis, we have low incidence rates, and Public Safety is managing everything,” said Dr. Rahmani.
Most of the recommendations do not have a physical impact on the University. The current budget does not allow for physical changes in certain areas either. The recommendations for communication and prevention that can be acted upon immediately will have no fiscal impact to the University.
“The purpose of the audit is for ULV to continue to have the safest environment. The president fully believes in and supports continuous quality improvement,” said Dr. Rahmani.
A primary reason for this approximately $3,000 safety audit is to help make sure that University staff and safety officials stay informed and aware in areas of concern.
“The purpose is to have these expert consultants come talk to the University and observe our practices of safety and security on campus. The end result being reasonable recommendations on improvements,” said Dr. Rahmani.
“Reasonable recommendations” means implementation of safety measures that are financially feasible and relatively realistic in regards to campus size and University population. The IACLEA team took everything of this type into consideration while investigating ULV.
The IACLEA team had interviews with a variety of University representatives, including students, faculty, classified staff and administrators.
Some departments that had an opportunity to give ideas to the audit team during their three day stay included Housing and Residential Life Director Helena Gerstenberg, student affairs directors, Transportation Coordinator Henry Negrette, Chief of Police Ron Ingels, Director of Operations Brian Worley, academic deans and directors, the Campus Times editorial board, the Residential Life team and Director of Support Services Sheila DeGraw.
Chris Braunstein, ASF president, allowed half of Monday’s regularly scheduled ASF Forum meeting to be dedicated to the auditors questions.
“I think that it was good that they came to ASF. We didn’t hold back at all, and we gave them, in my view, the concerns that we have heard time and time again: security officer availability, numbers of officers on duty, and safety within the halls,” said Braunstein.
Questions posed were open for all types of answers.
“Tell us what you think candidly about security on campus, how would you recommend problem solving,” said Carpenter. “This is a ‘physical’ of some sorts for the campus, just like you would go to the doctor when you are feeling healthy to see how your body was doing before any real problems occur. La Verne is a low crime area, and we are here to listen to issues and concerns.”
The city of La Verne’s relatively low crime rate gives all indications that the campus would be about the same when accounting for incidences, but staying on top of safety precautions and prevention is very beneficial.
The safety report will be on 19 to 20 issues divided between department, residence halls, budgets and training.