Public Safety Increases Surveillance Cameras on Campus

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Feb. 1, 2018 //

Theft, vandalism, and assault incidents have riddled the campus of Curry College and Public Safety has taken a step towards minimizing the frequency of those events.

That first stride was taken Aug. 28, 2017, when surveillance cameras were placed around campus, providing PS new perspectives to monitor crime.

16 brand-new cameras were strategically placed on the perimeter of the campus with one additionally looking at each gate. 886 Brush Hill Road, Scholars Hall, South Campus Residence Hall and Bell Hall all also feature a camera around the backside of each building.

In December, the school added four new cameras surveilling two of the more obscure and smaller dorms on the school’s north side campus.  Two cameras were installed on the exterior of Rose Hall, along with another two monitoring 874 Brush Hill Road.

The school intends to monitor the locations where incidents have taken place in the past but recognize many occurrences have happened all over campus.

Director of Public Safety, Paul King, indicated the camera installation project is “multi-phased,” and that the perimeter vantage points are just the beginning.

“As we continue to build the camera infrastructure, we are planning for additional exterior locations and looking at the possibility of implementing cameras inside buildings,” said King.

That step was taken in wake of the recent biased related incidents inside 886 Brush Hill Road. Two hallways now have the cameras set up on a temporary basis to monitor any further actions of hate.

Placing cameras within buildings runs a fine line on the right of privacy that the school will have to balance on. The college has already implemented a policy on Security Cameras as one of their Health and Safety Disclosures.

The policy for Responsible Installation and Use of Video Security Cameras on Campus reads, “Cameras shall not be installed in areas where individuals have a reasonable and legitimate expectation of privacy, such as private offices, spaces dedicated to health and counseling services, residence hall rooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, and classrooms.”

So far there has been nothing to report and the cameras have provided students with some level of comfort and protection on campus.  Junior Brooke Thurber, a mid-campus resident, definitely feels better with a few cameras in the area.

“I’m glad that the school has done something to finally try to prevent certain kinds of incidents from happening on campus,” said Thurber.

In addition to eventually inflating the number of cameras on campus, King also has the authority to install cameras on a temporary basis, which he used in 886. However, in order to do so, he first had to consult with either Vice President of Student Affairs, Maryellen Kiley, or the Vice President of Finance, Eric Norman.

One instance that King said he could use his temporary veto for is when a large crowd is expected at an event on campus. In addition, he can also boost surveillance in an area that was subject to multiple incidents.

There will be no live monitoring of the camera feed but King said that he and his Public Safety staff will be checking the footage “on a frequent basis.”

King joined the Public Safety squad as the Chief in May of 2017 and has experience installing video-monitoring equipment. He noted that these cameras are not a reaction to last year’s incidents and that this project has been discussed prior to the 2016-2017 school year.

The school’s end goal is to increase the overall safety of its students and faculty with this new security system.

“We believe that the use of security cameras on campus will serve as one mean of deterring and resolving a range of issues and incidents that may occur on a college campus,” said King.

He mentioned that a college campus is not the only place where incidents like this happen, however, “as they also occur in society as a whole,” King concluded.

Curry Hear Our Voice: Student-Run Forum Held On Campus

BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO // Dec. 1, 2017 //

For the first time since bias incidents riddled campus, Curry College students were able to have their voices heard, clearly and uninterrupted, at the student-run public forum inside the Katz Gymnasium.

Although half the size, students, faculty, and staff alike filled the gym for the Curry Hear Our Voice Student-Centered and Student-Run Forum organized by Curry College Student Activists.

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The ground rules established before the forum started. // Image Credit: Christianna Casaletto ’18

Those who had questions for administrators were advised to sit at one of the round tables over the middle, although the general assembly around the rest of the court was still free to participate. A set of ground rules for the forum were placed on every seat and table, along with a QF code that students could use to submit questions and comments throughout the forum.

The event consisted of three parts: a small-group discussion, the public forum, and a question-and-answer session.

The small-group discussion was led with two prompts: What do you know about the bias incidents and how have they affected you?

These discussions led into the next portion, the public forum when students and faculty were allowed to take the stand, state their concerns, and make comments without interruption from the administration.

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Michela Flowers ’20 took the microphone first to kick things off // Image Credit: Christianna Casaletto ’18

The first student to take the mic was sophomore psychology major Michela Flowers, who was directly affected by the bias incidents this fall. Flowers recounted the incident and told the room how she thought nothing was being done to truly make a change and right the wrongs.

“I can’t listen to a speech about Diversity from someone who isn’t diverse at all,” said Flowers, referring to the “Hate Has No Home Here” Public Forum held by President Kenneth Quigley and Administration.

Kai Monk, a sophomore biology major who identifies as non-binary and has experienced hate because of it, reported their incidents but feels the College did not do much else.

“As far as I’m aware,” Monk stated, “an email wasn’t even sent out and the student body wasn’t informed.”

However, after those statements, the forum slowed down with silences permeating the crowd, anticipating who could be the next to build up the courage to stand up and speak.

Student facilitator Paulina Adams took the mic in an attempt to motivate the crowd saying, “This is a place where you can speak out…participate, because that’s the only way change is going to happen.”

Finally, students began to line up to take the mic and a number of anonymous online questions and comments were read.

Students told stories of times when they or a friend experienced discrimination, or when discrimination has just simply been prominent on campus, in the residence halls, and even in the classrooms. These stories called out Professors for profiling, student-athletes for hate and sexual misconducts, and administration for brushing off students’ concerns.

Some students were emotional. Other students were confused. Many more students were angered.

Student-body Vice President Rachel O’Donnell took the mic and reminded everyone that “it starts with us as students, how we treat each other and talk to each other…it’s important.”

O’Donnell continued simply, “We need to be kinder human beings.”

After nearly 90 minutes of comments and concerns flooded out, the forum moved into its question-and-answer session. This session allowed students and faculty to take the mic and directly ask any Administrator any question.

While a number of topics were discussed, such as security cameras on campus, the handling of sexual misconducts, and rhetoric, much of the Q&A revolved around the implementation of policies and what administration will do to improve these policies.

A question was brought up regarding what happens during the student-conduct process and why students who have been found guilty of hate crimes are eventually let back on campus.

Director of Student Conduct, Melissa DeGrandis, explained that students who commit these bias incidents should first have a chance to be educated rather than immediately removed from the school. DeGrandis also explained that assessments should be put in place to determine if these students will continue to be a concern and should, therefore, be permanently removed from campus.

Many students stood up and responded that hate cannot be educated. However, the consensus from administration was the same; that regardless of the process, what happens to these individuals is not public information to be shared with the student body.

Community Director Mia Fuller reiterated that although their actions are not excused, bigoted individuals should still be given the chance to be educated because the only way to help ignorance is with education.

As a follow-up, a question was asked about the establishment or reformulating of a No Hate Policy on campus. However, after the question was asked, no one from the administration stood up to respond.

As students began to uproar in frustration, Vice President of Student Affairs Maryellen Kiley took the mic asking for clarification and then stating that a No Hate Policy already exists on campus. She added that she is happy to sit with students to establish new codes for specific language

“Can we do better? Yes,” said Vice President Kiley. “What does that mean? I don’t know.”

At the end of the night, the overwhelming consensus from those in attendance is that the changing of these policies has taken far too long.

Multiple students brought up the idea of implementing mandatory diversity classes to Curry’s curriculum. Some Professors, like Julian Bryson of Fine and Applied Arts, told students that they would be more than happy to work with students in planning new courses.

Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Carrie Coakley, additionally brought up the fact that the newly implemented General Education program requires 6 credits of Diversity courses for students.

The formal conversation ended just before 9:30 p.m., a half hour after the intended end time. However, students were encouraged to stay, talk, and send more information to the online form.

“We are just beginning the conversation,” said student facilitator Victoria Parks at the close of the forum.

Students have been encouraged to continue sending in their stories, questions, comments, and concerns, as administration will continue to read and respond.

Sprinkler Systems Flood SCRH, Damage Rooms

BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO // OCT. 31, 2017 //

Flooding in South Campus Residence Hall due to an activated sprinkler system sent students scrambling to find dry ground.

On Sunday, October 29, students were startled by screeching sirens at approximately 12:32 a.m.

Upon arrival, Public Safety determined that a fire sprinkler system was set off in a third-floor suite, sending water rushing down the main stairwell and into the rooms of residents in the affected areas.

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Some ceiling tiles appear to have water marks and damage from the sprinkler flooding // image credit: Christianna Casaletto ’18

Dom Ramasci, a junior criminal justice major and resident of SCRH, saw the flooding firsthand.

“I was leaving the building and as I approached the main stairwell, I heard gushing water,” he explained. “I entered the stairwell and saw water pouring out of a pipe. Gallons of water were flowing into the hallway and down the stairs.”

Milton Fire Department arrived shortly after and shut off water activated by the system.

However, due to safety concerns, it wasn’t until after 3:00 a.m. that students were allowed to return into the residence hall.

One of the main concerns is that water damage would cause electrical issues and Public Safety deemed it unsafe for students to stay in the affected rooms until a proper inspection was completed.

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Roommates Amanda Paul ’18 and Kelsey Tagen ’18 had to move all items off their floors and set up fans to dry the damp carpets // image credit: Kelsey Tagen ’18

According to Public Safety and Residence Life, 27 students experienced room damage. These students were asked to stay elsewhere for up to 48 hours for inspection and cleanup. Additionally, students unable to find a place to stay for the night were given temporary housing accommodations.

However, Building and Grounds assessed and repaired damage, and on Sunday afternoon all impacted students were able to return to their rooms. B&G additionally provided dehumidifiers and fans to help dry rooms and will replace mattresses if necessary.

The College is currently accommodating nine students whose rooms will need additional repair in the coming weeks.

“All of these students were offered temporary housing, however only two have decided to relocate,” explained Director of Public Safety, Paul King.

Senior nursing major Laura Ferris, a student in one of the affected rooms, said that her room is still in the process of drying and that additional school provided features had been damaged.

“Our Wi-Fi box in our room broke because of the water damage so now we don’t have Wi-Fi in our suite,” said Ferris.

What many students are still unaware of is the cause of the water flow.

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Students still have significant water damage to their rooms, such as this water bubble // image credit: Laura Ferris ’18

Rumored causes include student error activating the sprinkler system, faulty pipes bursting, and a combination of the two; although all of these speculations have not been confirmed.

While the official cause of the fire sprinkler system activation is still under investigation, Director King stated that “the College is not aware of any problems with the building’s pipe system.”

Milton Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Daley was unable to go into significant detail because the “incident is still under investigation.”

“However, I can tell you that the Milton Fire Department responded to an activated sprinkler in [SCRH],” said Deputy Chief Daley.

Students were advised to report any damaged personal items and were informed that claims for reimbursement should be done through personal Renter’s Insurance or Home Owner’s Insurance.

The students in the affected rooms received a similar email from Residence Life Sunday afternoon.

Shauna Nickerson, a senior nursing major and one of the affected students, experienced a similar situation her freshman year when heavy snowfall and subsequent melting caused a leak in her dorm room.

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Buildings and Grounds advised students in affected rooms to move all of their belongings to a dry area and allow the carpets to completely dry // image credit: Laura Ferris ’18

“My freshman year it took about a month for me to be able to live in my room again and I didn’t receive any updates,” said Nickerson. “This time around they notified me of the situation and let me reoccupy my room in a timely manner.”

However, Nickerson, like many students, is still frustrated that a cause has not yet been determined or revealed.

“I know the water damage my freshman year was due to weather, but it’s frustrating that residents this year don’t even know how the water [flooding] began.”

Nicole Harkins, a senior psychology major, says that the ceiling of her suite has a crack in it but is just thankful the damage to her suite wasn’t worse.

“It’s frustrating but ours isn’t as bad as other people so I understand why they’re concerned with repairing those suites first,” Harkins noted.

This story is developing and will be updated as details emerge.

Sexual Assault Reported on Campus

BY COLE McNANNA // Oct. 24 2017 //

An alleged sexual assault occurred early Sunday morning on Curry College campus.

The incident is currently under investigation by Public Safety and Milton Police Department. Alleged assailant(s) are currently unknown.

The alleged incident occurred Sunday Oct. 22, around 2:30 a.m. by the basketball courts on Blue Jay Way. The report was submitted Monday evening, Oct. 23, by a third-party who was not present at the time of the assault.

The group of Curry students stated “they were reporting the incident on behalf of the alleged victim who told them what had happened,” according to an email sent out by Public Safety Director Paul King Tuesday afternoon.

No further details were able to be provided from either PS or MPD but any and every bit of information can help their investigation. Public Safety can be reached at any time at 617-333-2222 and Milton PD’s general line is 617-698-3800. The crime tip hotline for MPD can be reached at 617-698-COPS (2677).

This story is developing and will be updated as details emerge.

“It’s Up To Us” to End Hate

BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO // OCT. 23, 2017 //

The Curry College Student Government Association (SGA) is standing up against recent bias incidents on campus and has produced a student-led video.

Titled “It’s Up to Us,” the video was created in response to the Office of Diversity & Inclusion’s 2nd annual “What is Diversity?” contest. Although SGA was unable to enter the contest due to deadline and filming constraints, the video was first shown during the “Welcome to Curry” Diversity Showcase on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

SGA President Zoe Staude and Vice President Rachel O’Donnell took the lead roles in compiling the video. A variety of clubs and organizations were also involved, including Student Center employees, Orientation Leaders, Residence Life, Collision Dynasty, Dance Team, Alternative Spring Break, and a number of individual students.

“We are Curry College, and we are stronger as one,” serves as the final message of the video, urging students to stand up to hate.