by Connor Nolan ‘19
Student Congress Publicity
On Tuesday, April 24, the Interim Director of Public Safety, Koren Kanadanian, came to speak to Student Congress. He spoke about the ongoing search for a new head of the Department of Public Safety who will lead the transition into becoming a certified law enforcement agency. This would professionalize the security on campus into a police force if they gain accreditation by meeting 84 standards. The school conducted a national search with over 200 applicants applying, and one candidate was chosen. After the selection, the choice fell through and a new process has begun to find a replacement. The plan is to hire the person over the summer and allow them to evaluate how best to move forward in the process.
Kanadanian explained that part of this will include more training for officers and supervisors, and possible updates to patrol cars and computer systems utilized by Public Safety. There was a question regarding the arming of officers on campus and how many officers will carry weapons if they gain accreditation. Kanadanian said that there are still conversations regarding how many officers will be armed if any, but that the officers will be sworn in and able to make arrests. They hope to hire recent academy graduates or retired officers who are licensed to carry weapons if they choose to arm officers.
The armed officers would deal with emergencies, enforcement, and calls for issues such as suspicious people on campus. Sworn officers mean Providence College would be able to bring issues on campus to court without the involvement of outside police.
This led to a question of officers having the authority to charge people, including students, and if something that used to lead to a student being reprimanded, would now lead to arrests. He spoke about how they would have the authority to arrest all students, but that write-ups and the officer’s discretion should not change as security technically already has the ability to involve police but often do not. Kanadanian sees the department as saving students from themselves more often than not, and this would hopefully make campus safer from outside threats.
There was also a question regarding the posting of an officer to the Eaton Gate at night, and while he agreed this would be a good idea to address in the future, as interim director he cannot make that change. This led to a question about the falling through of the person who was offered the job and if it is an issue that an interim director cannot make policy changes. Mr. Kanadanian said he has the authority to deal with issues as they arise.
There was also a question about current policies regarding Public Safety officers off campus because students have seen them out, especially on weekends. He said that they are there to help students, not run into police issues, and to corroborate student accounts of events in case of issues with the Providence Police Department.
After the failure to have a quorum at the past week’s meeting, last week’s legislation was voted upon at this general meeting of Congress.
The first piece of legislation regarded the reallocation of Dunkin’ Donuts’ revenue to fund the efforts of the philanthropy class offered on campus. The funds will be used to help improve the local community. The legislation was put to a vote and passed.
The second piece regarded the creation of a health and first aid course on campus. The presenters of the piece decided to table the piece without it being voted upon, but promised to continue to work on it in the future as they feel it is very important. They also spoke to the support they have from certain clubs, organizations, programs, and teachers on campus.
The next piece regarded allowing graduate student access to the health and personal counseling centers. As stated last week, the passing of this legislation would lead to more discussion within the school administration regarding this. It was put to a vote and passed.
The final piece of legislation regarded an internal change within the legislative affairs committee. It stated, “If you have endorsed a candidate you may not participate in legislative affairs committee activities or subcommittee on elections activities as defined in chapter one of the standing legislation.” This vote was passed as well.