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.
King mentioned in a conversation on Thursday that their first step would be immediately getting in touch with the Milton Police Department. After that, PS would lead and assist the evacuation of buildings, initiate lockdown procedures and send emergency notifications to all community members.
In addition to the protocol, should an intruder attempt to storm a classroom, Curry College has equipped both the Milton and Plymouth campuses with “No Entry Pouch” safety kits. These pouches are placed under the door in order to keep it lodged shut and intruders out.
Director King also expressed that PS is open and willing to hold a discussion with students regarding these issues and thoughts.
He confirmed that “Public Safety is always open to engaging with the community we serve, including students, faculty, and staff.”
King added that part of that service includes the recent addition of security cameras installed around campus as well as Public Safety’s relocation to 940 Brush Hill Road.
“I am a big believer in community policing, and I plan to engage with our community and work with them to solve problems that impact our community,” King stated.
Part of that engagement will include a partnership with students to get them hands-on training.
“In the future, Public Safety plans to explore providing student internship and other programming opportunities that increase engagement with our officers and the community,” King mentioned, signaling a want for a closer relationship with students and faculty on campus.
PS maintains a close, working relationship with multiple branches of law enforcement near the campus’ immediate surroundings including Massachusetts State Police.
An open forum with Public Safety officers and Director King could not only ease tensions concerning student safety on Curry’s campus, but it could also open the topic of discussion for other hot-topics circling around.
For instance, the recent Public Forum on Sept. 29 in Westhaver Park involving President Quigley and Curry students covered the recent bias-related incidents that have occurred on campus and attracted several local news outlets’ attention.
A meeting with Public Safety could also address concerns raised by the Sept. 20 Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, broaching the topic of Scout Schultz’ shooting at Georgia Tech on Sept. 17.
Paul King reminds students that while Curry College is a facility protected 24/7, vigilance and communication with Public Safety regarding strange or uncommon behavior should be reported immediately to Public Safety (617) 333-2222.
Following the second meeting of Curry College’s Student Government Association, concerns regarding the safety of students have arisen in the wake of the recent Georgia Tech student who was shot and killed.
Scout Shultz’s death in Georgia, adding on top of the recent assault and robbery involving a group of Curry College students that occurred last Sunday, Sept. 17 in Hyde Park, has raised concerns regarding the safety of Curry College and its residents.
Specifically, Alexander Bauman, a junior-class representative, mentioned the recent shooting of Schultz as something that should be addressed with Public Safety in a future meeting.
Considering the implications in which Schultz was killed after a confrontation with Georgia Tech Campus Police, Bauman questioned what PS would do should a similar confrontation occur at Curry College.
When questioned whether he thought SGA should hold a meeting with Public Safety in order to contemplate these recent events, Bauman emphasized, “Yes, but I’m focusing mainly on the mental health aspect [of Schultz’ death].”
Bauman continued, “I knew [former] Chief Greeley, had a gun and I don’t know if any PS officer since then had a gun, or is allowed to have a gun,” he said. “I just want to know their protocols regarding mental illness in any situation like that.”
According to a recent article in The Washington Post, Scout Schultz was shot by Georgia Tech Campus Police Saturday night following multiple warnings from campus police to drop the knife. Despite it being unclear whether the knife was in Schultz’ hands after approaching one of the officers who repeated multiple verbal warnings, Schultz was shot one time through the heart and later passed away on Sunday.
Protesters reacted on Monday, Sept. 18 by marching to the campus police department; criticizing and rioting against the use of deadly force used by the officers.
Schultz is remembered for being an active President of Georgia Tech’s Pride Alliance, and for having a history of dealing with mental illness. According to the parents, Shultz identified as neither male nor female and had previously attempted suicide two years prior.
While the main discourse regarding the Georgia Tech shooting centers around the overuse of deadly force and campus police, concerns regarding the care of students coping with mental illness were brought up and voiced by several members of SGA.
Should SGA follow up with a meeting that includes Public Safety and the student body to address these issues? Does mental illness require more understanding on our campus to avoid what happened at Georgia Tech?
While Curry College has thankfully not been susceptible to a similar tragedy, there are still questions regarding how effective Public Safety would be if a similar calamity occur.
For now, Public Safety maintains the main safety outlet for the students and faculty on campus and has not been forced to address situations like these.
The Student Government Association teamed up with Curry administrators Wednesday afternoon to host the annual “Town Hall” in the Student Center’s Large Meeting Room.
The forum featured Vice-President of Student Affairs Maryellen Kiley, Vice President of Institutional Planning Sue Pennini, Provost David Szczerbacki, Director of Buildings and Grounds Bob O’Connell and Student Body President Zoe Staude. Also in attendance were various SGA representatives, faculty, staff, and at least a dozen different students who had come to voice concerns.
“The more we come together to create a shared understanding and work together to create solutions, the greater our success will be,” said Dean Pennini.
As students filed in and dropped anonymous questions they had written on slips of paper in a receptacle, the meeting kicked off with a presentation from Dean Pennini and Mr. O’Connell.
The first matter on the agenda was the Sciences and Integrated Learning Commons Building: a facility that will nestle between and connect the current Science Building with the Levin Library/AAPC.
Dean Pennini spoke to the need to update and improve upon the existing science labs with the hope of providing new resources to students majoring in Nursing, Biology, Chemistry, and the forthcoming Biochemistry.
It would also supply students that are studying Criminal Justice with forensics equipment. Mr. O’Connell added that the project would also address any outstanding issues of zoning compliance and accessibility issues within the current facilities.
Also within the building will be a free-study area where students of various disciplines can work independently or collaborate with one another. Dean Pennini likened the area to a social space not unlike the Student Center, but with an emphasis on academic pursuits. Both administrators noted the plans were not yet final.
A new athletics field house is also in the works, with the intent of adding locker rooms with personal, permanent lockers to athletes, new weight and strength-training facilities, and a public restroom for people attending games.
One student asked if there were plans to build a track and Mr. O’Connell stated that there were none at this time. He also added that there were no plans for the existing Miller Field House at this point in time.
After battling a faulty mic and electing to stand and address his audience, Provost Szczerbacki next took over, and spoke to the College’s continued commitments to quality assurance within degree programs.
He mentioned a new system of “degree maps,” with a function similar to the CAPP Degree Audit system currently available via the portal. Also on his agenda was expanding the school’s study abroad program, and the hiring of 15 new faculty members for the fall semester.
He concluded by saying the College hopes to expand upon its current offering of programs with 40 new or substantially redesigned programs by the 2018-19 school year.
Dean Kiley and Student Body President Staude each spoke to a number of programs designed to improve the student experience both inside and outside the classroom, such as the Bias Response Team that was formed after a spike in reports of bias-related incidents.
Curry student Mia Gomez voiced her concern that those issues had not yet been alleviated, and said she doesn’t believe the College is taking an active enough approach in quelling the problem. Her advocacy for the standardization of safe spaces at Curry drew snaps of approval from the gathered students.
“If our voices are not heard we will do more about it until we are heard and changes are made,” she said after the meeting.
Gomez also bemoaned a lack of diversity and acceptance on the Curry campus to fervent snaps from the assembled crowd, citing the vandalism incident in Mayflower in which an emblem of hatred was displayed.
The administrators were just as fervent in voicing the commitment to expunging these problems.
The panel was very amenable to answering each question raised by students at the meeting, even if – as Provost Szczerbacki pointed out – they couldn’t always give the students what they were looking for.
Dean Kiley plans to have lunch with Gomez this week to talk about issues of diversity and Dean Pennini lingered after the meeting to speak to students one-on-one.
Dean Pennini said that to hear students retell harrowing experiences at the College is heart-breaking for her, particular when students feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
“I take to heart the questions and concerns that were raised during the Town Hall,” she said.
“The open dialogue between students, faculty, and staff provided us all with the range of perspectives necessary to continue our work together, striving to be the diverse and inclusive academic and social community we intend to be.”
Following the assembly, Student Body President Staude commented that she wishes students would see SGA as more than just as a funding source for clubs.
“We are trying to make ourselves more present on this campus. We want our classmates to know who we are, we want out classmates to come to our meetings, we want them to voice their concerns, and we want their help in making a change to our campus.
Student Body President Staude noted that meetings are open to anyone and that the minutes for each meeting are public record; there is a copy of the previous weeks minutes on our bulletin board in front of the Campus Life suite on the second floor of the Student Center.
“I am only as good as the information my classmates give me. I want them to share their stories, I want to work with them to make a difference. I will do what I need to do in order to make sure that a student feels safe and comfortable on our campus.”
In addition, the elections for SGA e-board are April 14-16 (a student has to be in SGA for at least one semester in order to run for the E-board) and the voting for general election is April 28th-30. Every student gets to vote during both election sessions, for the e-board and for the general. Nomination packets for students to run can be found at the Information Desk at the Student Center and are due to the campus life office by April 21.
SGA meets every Wednesday from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. in the Large Meeting Room in the Student Center and are open to the public.
Student Body President Staude can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org if students would like to make arrangements to meet or contact her with any concerns.
“I hope that more students will start coming to our meetings and reach out to me so that we can work together on the issues they want the college to improve on,” she said. “Without evidence or any support behind topics, not much change can happen.”
On March 8 the Student Government Association meeting was adjourned prematurely due to too few members present as all female members of SGA were absent in honor of International Women’s Day.
The lack of SGA members in attendance resulted in a lack of productivity. On the agenda for the day were campus break-ins, the schools response to these break-ins, and budgets for clubs and events.
The meeting was put to a swift close after reality set in that without their female constituents the student government association would be not be able to perform any sort of meaningful action; SGA has 21 female members and 13 male members.
Sophomore Class President Greg Estes who was present for the meeting and passionate about dealing with the campus burglaries was disappointed about the mass absence.
“I really wish would could have had the meeting,” said Estes. “I really wanted to talk about the break-ins.”
The part of International Women’s Day that prompted this action was an initiative called A Day Without A Woman which proposed that women take the day off from work, avoid their regular duties, and wear red to show solidarity. This was all done to raise awareness that women are essential; specifically in the work place, highlighting the wage gap that currently exists between men and women.
One member of SGA who chose not to attend the meeting was Senior Class Representative Abby Pieger. She clarified that it was not the intention to prevent things from getting done but rather show that women are vital to the workplace.
“I just firmly believe in equality of genders, sexes, sexuality and race,” explained Pieger. “I think that everybody observes equal opportunity.”
Student Body President Zoe Stuade found the experience to be both vital and eye opening for both SGA members and the Curry Community.
“Being a member of SGA means spreading the voice of the Student Body. We need to stand tall and show our peers what we believe in.” Staude continued, “With SGA having mostly female members, we thought it was important to demonstrate the message that without us, not only SGA but the rest of the college would have a different atmosphere to it. We are simply empowering our female student population in hopes that we will be making a positive impact on our community.”
Now three weeks later, Staude believes the protest had significant impact on the SGA environment saying she feels as though Student Government “does have a different atmosphere than before our protests for International Women’s Day.”
While it may have prevented the SGA from getting its job done that March day, it would appear that there was real change taking place because of the action of these women. There’s no doubting that these women were essential to a day of productivity.