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Revised CP Event Policy Reduces Costs for Several Student Groups

By Laura McGrath Moulton
STAFF REPORTER

The Campus Police revised their event detail policy over the past year in an attempt to make it easier for student groups to safely host large events on campus and to better streamline the assignment of overtime police detail.

The policy determines the assignment of CP details on the basis of event type, said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin. Events without alcohol, or large crowds hosted by MIT students for MIT students are subsidized to a lower rate, while larger events or those involving alcohol require student groups to pay for CP overtime detail.

In addition, some groups, such as the Lecture Series Committee, will receive a lower rate because of the unusually high number of events they hold each semester. The standard rate for a CP detail is $39.00 per officer per hour, according to the CP policy.

Staff shortages are partially responsible for this policy change. According to Glavin, excessive amounts of CP overtime as well as the cost faced by student groups has led to a policy that incorporates the routes of officers already on duty into event details.

LSC benefits, GAMIT no change

One of the main beneficiaries of this change has been LSC. Previously, LSC had been required to pay for six hours of CP duty each Friday and Saturday night. Under the new policy, a policeman already on-duty spends the half hour prior to each movie supervising the cash box, then continues with the rest of his or her beat, Glavin said.

LSC chairman Douglas E. Heimburger ’00 expressed satisfaction with the new arrangement.

“It saves us about $250 per week, which adds up over the course of the semester. We hope this will allow us to present more lectures and better quality movies to the MIT community,” Heimburger said.

Not all groups have noticed an improvement, however. Terrance D. Harmon ’99, general coordinator of Gays and Lesbians at MIT, said, “We had two major events this year, the dance this semester and the drag show last semester. The cops didn’t have much impact except that we had to pay for them. That was not so great but we’ve always had to do that. I haven’t noticed any change.”

Assistant Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Katie O’Dair praised the policy. CP officers “continue to monitor these events with route officers stopping by to ensure that things are running well.” O’Dair added, “For years, students have been asking for a more reasonable policy” and this could be that policy.

“The Campus Police have worked hard over the past year to work with students and come up with a policy that is fair and safe. For the Dean’s office, we want to help students have safe, fun, and successful events; we will work with the Campus Police, student organizations, and the administration to me up with policies that work towards this goal,” O’Dair said.

Policy result of peer review

The changes in policy were part of a broader peer review conducted by the Campus Police last September, which focused on department organizational structure, the CP facility, the departmental mission, and compliance with federal crime reporting laws. The review also include the input of several focus groups including members of the MIT community.

The review team, which included Chief Susan Riseling of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Dr. R. Bruce McBride, assistant vice chancellor at the University of New York, and Mr. Douglas F. Tuttle, a policy scientist at the University of Delaware, found that “Overall, every group rated the MIT Police Department well. All groups also identified areas for the police to think about or to review.”

For instance, the review mentioned that “some students expressed concerns over the process for deciding whether the police were going to staff a student event, how many police officers were needed and why.”

Groups also expressed concern about the role of the CPs in giving medical transport to intoxicated students while at the same time being responsible for issuing alcohol citations.

Focus group members also “noted that the visibility of the MIT Police decreases significantly inside the campus buildings.”

The larger review was commissioned by Glavin in response findings that the CPs had omitted crime statistics occurring in fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups from their weekly crime log and yearly crime summaries, as mandated by federal law. However, the review group found that despite previous omission of crime statistics, the CPs were in general compliant with federal law.