On September 26, 2012, the York University Community Safety Council (CSC) held its first meeting of the 2012-13 academic year. The CSC is an advisory body and acts as the forum through which students, faculty and staff help to create a true culture of safety at York. Elena Iosef (L&L President), Leeanne Footman (L&L VP Internal) and myself (Camille Dunbar–Equity Officer) were in attendance, representing the Osgoode student body.
Sexual Assaults – September 2012
Chairman John Amanatides began the meeting expressing vehement displeasure and frustration at the recent sexual assaults on campus. The sexual assaults were perpetrated upon university students and committed by male university students. Arrests were made in relation to each incident. The Chairman insisted that finding an effective resolution is a shared responsibility: everyone needs to be more vigilant, active and determined to tackle this problem.
York University has added $1 million dollars to its base safety budget since 2009. Last year $10.2 million dollars were expended on safety initiatives. The university also hired 10 new security officers and 2 new security supervisors in the past year.
Much of this increase is in direct response to the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) campus safety audit conducted in 2009. The METRAC report made over 100 recommendations, 70% of which are now complete or significantly complete/on-going.
New Intervention Model
Notably, METRAC recommended that the University review its model of security. As a result, one of the most remarkable changes to York’s security force is the implementation of the New Intervention Model. Under this new model, security officers will be authorized to effect a citizen’s arrest. Security officers will now be equipped with handcuffs and batons in order to perform the arrest safely; they are to be used for defensive purposes only. In order to perform a citizen’s arrest, the arresting security officer must witness the crime.
Once the University’s collective bargaining agreement is completed, all York University security officers will be operating under the New Intervention Model. However, the York Police department, ideally, will continue to conduct most arrests.
Safety Updates 2011
The University now has 70 security and residence watch officers and officials. The University has also invested $200,000 to increase lighting around the campus and is in the process of adding 17 new security phones anticipated in late October or November. A new education advisor has also been hired to make safety information and updates more readily available.
Osgoode’s Safety Initiatives
Last year, Assistant Dean Ronda Bessner and Peter Lee, the Assistant Director of Operations, addressed various safety initiatives of particular concern for the Osgoode community. Updates as of September 2012 are below.
GoSafe Shuttle Service
The goSafe Shuttle Service has now expanded its route to the Village and will stop on every street. GoSafe, a complimentary service, upon request, will walk students and staff to and from any campus locations including bus stops, parking lots or residences. GoSafe staff is generally available to meet at a location specified by the student or staff member for pick-up within 10 minutes of receiving the request. In addition to providing foot escorts, goSafe staff also conducts weekly audits of all on-campus exterior lighting, emergency elevators and safety phones.
The Osgoode Family Room is now accessible and is for use by Osgoode students who require private parenting space and nursing mothers. The room is outfitted with furniture, a refrigerator and microwave. A request for access to the Family Room must be made, in writing, to Nancy Sperling. Once access is approved, an access card will be issued and can be used for the academic year.
The Reflection Room is now open and accessible to all students seeking a quiet, private space for personal reflection and/or prayer. It is located on the ground floor across from the Material Distribution Centre. Osgoode building administration is currently working on an “in use” indicator while the room occupied to avoid interruptions.
Staff Safety – Panic Buttons
Panic buttons have now been installed in each staff office, at every workstation and under the front service counter located in Student Services Office. Staff can also call Security Services for a “Why Work Alone” security check (by dialing 58000) if working alone between the hours of 6pm and 7am Monday-Friday or at anytime on weekends and holidays.
Courtesy Phone and Full Bistro Access
A student courtesy phone has been installed for local calls only and is located on the first floor by the vending machines next to IKB room 1001.
A door handle has been attached and now provides full access to the Bistro from the south-west stairwell.
Cross-Walk at Nelson Road
The Pond Road is governed by the City of Toronto and as such, any request for work needs City approval. The City requires York University to pay approximately $75,000 for a crosswalk connecting the Pond Road and Nelson Road intersection. Currently, Campus Services is awaiting a response from the City on this matter.
Blue Light Emergency Phones
Outdoor Emergency Telephones are equipped with a blue light for visibility. Calls from the Blue Light Phones are connected to the Security Control Centre.
Osgoode Path Lighting
The Osgoode Atkinson Green Reconstruction Project will include extensive landscaping, site-wide LED exterior lighting, improved accessible walkways and new public seating areas. The expected completion date is December 2012.
Security Bulletins can now be found on the MyOsgoode home page under “Announcements.”
Urgent: 416-736-5333 or Ext. 33333
General Inquiries: 416-650-8000 or Ext. 58000
- By dialling 416-736-5454 (or extension 55454)
- By using any of the Blue Light Emergency Phones
- By Payphone on campus (it’s free!)
- By the goSAFE button on any campus Safety phone
GoSafe Hours of Operation:
Keele Campus: 6:00pm to 2:00am (Sept to Apr), 8:00pm to 2:00am (Summer)
Glendon Campus: 6:00pm to 1:00am (Sept to Apr)
York Safety Website:
Together, let’s continue to build a culture of safety at York University.