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Presidentís Task Force on Safety update

Loyola press release - September 2, 2008

According to the Reader’s Digest 2008 March issue, Loyola University New Orleans received an A rating for its safety record and was listed, among other top universities, as being one of the safest universities in the country. Loyola is listed as the 37th safest campus, which placed it among the top third surveyed universities. The Reader’s Digest rankings and grades can be viewed here.

While that recognition is rewarding, the university remains vigilant in its efforts to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. The President’s Task Force on Safety was established in 2007 to address a number of growing safety concerns on and around Loyola’s campus. Since its creation, the task force has taken the following actions:

  • They have increased the number of Loyola University Police Department personnel and raised the starting salary of university police officers. This increase in personnel improves police visibility on and around the campus through increased foot patrols, bicycle patrols, and marked and unmarked vehicle patrols. University Police are in direct radio communication with both the New Orleans Police Department and the Tulane University Police Department.
  • The task force met with Tulane University officials to discuss safety issues and to determine how Loyola could partner with them to better serve our students. As a result, the following actions have been implemented:

    • Implemented partnership with Tulane University in August 2007 to provide a safe ride shuttle, entertainment shuttle, and grocery shuttle for Loyola University students.
    • Implemented partnership with Tulane University Student Health in August 2007 to provide 24/7 on-call physician services for Loyola students.
    • Implemented partnership with Tulane University in August 2007 to provide Tulane Emergency Medical Services (ambulance service) for Loyola students.
  • The task force conducted a lighting survey of both campuses. Two areas of concern were identified by the Physical Plant. Lighting in those areas has been enhanced as a result.
  • While conducting the lighting survey, the task force noticed that there were many streetlights out of service adjacent to the campus, an area which falls under city jurisdiction. There are approximately 1,300 Loyola students living in the 70118 and 70115 zip codes directly adjacent to the campus. Considering this information, the task force drafted a letter to the New Orleans City Council, requesting its assistance in repairing the street lights. The letter was sent to three councilpersons including the president of the city council. Several of those street lights have since been repaired.

    The task force attended a Crime and Safety Round Table Discussion with other members of the New Orleans higher education community which was facilitated by the Chief of Staff of the Governor’s Office. The purpose of this meeting was to heighten awareness of crime issues that could affect universities in the greater New Orleans area.

    The Office of Co-Curricular Programs has sent a new publication to students in the two zip codes adjacent to the campus to better inform them about safety issues and campus services.

    University President Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., and the Safety Task Force met with Captain Kirk Bouyelas, the Commander of the Second District, to discuss issues and opportunities to work in partnership with the New Orleans Police Department. LUPD continues to conduct weekly meetings with NOPD and TUPD to share information about crime on the university campuses and in the surrounding Second District. Crime alerts are reported to students, faculty and staff via BOLO (be on the look out) e-mail alerts, along with safety tips specific to the crime.

    The university continues to offer various safety programs to students such as the date rape drug card that allows them to check their drink for the presence of two date rape drugs. Safety publications such as What You Should Know About Sexual Assault on Campus, are distributed at all events. In addition, LUPD offers Rape Aggression Defense System (RADS) training to all female students, faculty, and staff for free each semester.

    The task force investigated and expanded the current cab ride partnership with United Cab to include off campus students. Students and parents are able to open debit accounts with United Cab. Four parking places on campus have been dedicated to the cab company to facilitate this service.

In addition to these actions taken by the President's Task Force on Safety, the university also uses the following security measures to enhance campus safety:

  • More than 80 closed circuit cameras are operating on campus.
  • A telephone voice/text message system is in place to alert students, faculty and staff to any emergencies on campus or in the area that would affect the university community. This system was successfully tested earlier this year, and is tested every semester.
  • Several emergency blue light phones are situated around the main and Broadway campuses.
  • Loyola University police officers provide a safety escort service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Residence halls are all equipped with card key access.
  • BOLOs are issued via e-mail to students, faculty, and staff for each incidence of crime on campus and in the surrounding area, and include crime prevention tips specific to the crime being discussed.
  • Loyola community members may report crimes anonymously or any other incidents that may require investigation by LUPD by logging on to their Silent Witness program at http://www.loyno.edu/police/silentwitness.php.
  • A siren/public announcement system for both campuses is currently being examined for use during large-scale emergencies.

These actions taken by the President’s Safety Task Force are proof that the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff is of paramount concern to us here at Loyola University New Orleans. We will continue to seek out the most effective safety measures available in our efforts to keep our campus and the Loyola community safe.

Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D.