The University of New Mexico is gradually launching a new program intended to enhance safety through a campus-wide communication channel, but the rollout has not been universally seen by those intended to be involved in the program.
Planning for the program titled “Campus Watch” began the first week of the fall semester with a questionnaire sent to UNM building coordinators – staff in charge of overseeing respective buildings on campus – according to Maya Williams, Campus Watch co-chair and Facilities Management Public Information Representative.
The questionnaire was meant to gauge interest and recruit volunteer Zone Captains, Williams wrote. Once assigned, Zone Captains will supervise 23 different areas on campus divided by Campus Watch officials.
Zone Captains will communicate – through phone or email – safety concerns and crime trends with students and staff, Williams wrote. They will also lead their zones and conduct meetings.
“Campus Watch Zone Captains and participants are encouraged to communicate about any safety concerns they may have,” Williams wrote. “Examples include reporting uneven sidewalks, broken doors, vandalism, graffiti, trash or individuals sleeping in certain locations.”
At least two building coordinators – Trenton Ward and Krystel Rosales who oversee the UNM Bookstore – never received the questionnaire, Ward, said.
“The truth is I have heard very little about the new Campus Watch program,” Ward wrote.
Eric Boeglin, Operations Manager at UNM Recreational Services, is listed in the directory as a building coordinator for Johnson Center but said he was never informed of the role.
Boeglin did receive the questionnaire but did not have time to complete it because of his beginning-of-semester responsibilities, he said.
“I don’t know who determines the building coordinators,” Boeglin said. “I’ve never been told I was a building coordinator.”
Boeglin said that while he appreciates building coordinators, he would like to see student involvement in the Campus Watch program. After 9 p.m., students run Johnson Center until it closes at 10 p.m., Boeglin said.
“There are points when we have students running this facility,” Boeglin said. “I know how, late at night, this Campus can get pretty desolate.”
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10 additional building coordinators did not respond to requests for comment.
Campus Watch was based on the concept of Neighborhood Watch, Williams said. Neighborhood Watch, inspired by community policing, asks residents “to be proactive in reporting crime, supporting their neighbors and taking preventative measures,” according to Bernalillo County.
UNM Police Department will share relevant campus safety information they receive with Zone Captains, Williams wrote. If Zone Captains receive word of a crime, a police report must still be filed.
There is no affiliation between Campus Watch and LoboAlerts – UNM’s emergency notification system.
The Campus Watch website was published Oct. 26. A list of Zone Captains, their contact information and a campus zone map will be added soon, according to Williams, though an exact timeline is not known. Once the list is available, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get involved and share their safety concerns, she wrote.
“It’s essential to understand that Campus Watch serves as an information-sharing channel and not as a means for reporting crimes,” Williams wrote.
Lily Alexander is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @llilyalexander
Lily Alexander is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted on Twitter @llilyalexander