Campus to hire consultant to review residence hall security
The campus plans to hire an outside consultant to undertake a comprehensive review of its residence hall security program, according to Police Chief John Horvath.
Horvath said, “UMass Amherst has a longstanding commitment to student safety, and this review will identify the strengths and any shortcomings of our current system while making recommendations based on best practices in the field. An independent set of eyes will serve us well.”
The move is part of a coordinated review and response to campus security following the alleged rape in October of a UMass Amherst student in a residence hall by four men from Pittsfield, none of them UMass students. The suspects are awaiting trial.
A request for proposal has been finalized, with submission of proposals due by Dec. 21. Proposals will be reviewed by a committee, with finalists selected by the week of Jan. 7, 2013. Horvath expects to select a consultant during the spring semester.
The consultant will be charged with taking an independent look at current security measures in place at the 45 residence halls on campus that house more than 12,000 students.
The consultant will be asked to collaborate with a working group selected by the university; outline strengths and areas that need improvement in residence hall security compared to best practices; conduct a review of existing policies, procedures and practices with a special look at guest registration; review physical layouts of residence halls for possible security improvements, and look at electronic access systems.
In addition, the consultant will review how the residential security program works with residential life staff and administration, and how the program works with the UMass Amherst Police. There will be an assessment of education programs within residence halls and how information is shared with students, staff and faculty, and a look at communication among departments charged with public safety, student affairs and operation of residence halls.