Elise Catrion Gregg | Editor-in-Chief
The student senate passed a resolution on housing safety at its last meeting, intending to integrate safety measures by housing and FIU police.
“This bill has been a long time in the making,” said Senator Alexander Stone during the Feb. 5 senate meeting. “I’m pretty excited to see what this bill can do.
“The Standardized Housing Safety Procedures Act”, or S.R. 04 008, sponsored by Senator Alexander Stone, FIUPD Chief Alexander Casas and Housing Director Andrew Naylor, aims to enhance current measures and put all dorms on equal footing for security.
“It puts all of our housing buildings on par,” said Casas in an interview with PantherNOW. “They’ll have the same kind of safety measures and safety features.”
Measures include requiring at least one officer to liaise with housing staff in the event of an incident at a dorm, putting emergency buttons in the common area and front desk or lobby areas of all new dorms (connecting students directly to FIUPD), as well as putting magnets on the fridges in accommodations with escape routes and a map of the building.
“This past semester working as a residential assistant I noticed there was no emergency button at the front desk,” Stone told PantherNOW, explaining why he created the resolution. “It would be a little bit difficult to get specific information regarding certain incidents that happened within our buildings.”
It started with buttons, but as he developed the resolution, Stone looked at other measures that could be incorporated into the legislation.
“We wanted to make that reporting more solid. I wanted to make that reporting easier, and I wanted to make it a little bit more transparent between both departments.”
SGA president Alex Sutton said he’s excited about the bill as well, calling the policies useful and conducive to safer campus life.
“I’m glad it passed,” Sutton told PantherNOW. “The important thing about legislation like this is that the sponsor reached out to the relevant university departments beforehand and already got the buy-in on the policy.”
“Now the implementation will be quite smooth because housing and the police already know what is being proposed – I give props to Senator Stone for being proactive in that.”
Casas said Housing and FIUPD already work together for dorm security and that this legislation formalizes that, helping the longevity of the departments’ relationship.
“Year to year, we get new employees, there’s turnover in each of our departments – you lose some of that working relationship,” Casas explained. “By formalizing that agreement, it just becomes automatic for each department to keep that going.”
Although Casas said that every dorm had its own security strengths and weaknesses, so written-out measures would help equalize safety in housing.
The resolution passed with 27 “yes” votes, zero “no”, and one abstention, with no discussion in senate on what Casas called a “no-brainer” resolution.
The proposed project would be funded by FIUPD and Housing.
“I’m incredibly happy our senate voted almost unanimously,” said Stone. “If it can be still impacting our students 10, 15, 20 years down the road I’ll know I’ve left a good legacy behind with my legislation, and I’ve done my job.”
Housing Director Andrew Naylor could not be reached for comment before publication.