USM Police Chief Lisa Beecher addressed the Senate with an overview of this year’s police activity and entertained questions from senators.
Beecher announced that there have been an average of 40 criminal cases each month at the University. Although she was not familiar with exact numbers, she estimates that the crime rate at USM is probably about the same as comparable universities. Beecher also noted that stringent reporting guidelines at USM sometimes make the numbers look worse, but that many parents feel better about the school because the police are thorough.
“We try to be very honest about that, and it pays off,” she said. In addition, Beecher cited programs such as Sexual Assault Services led by Jim Daniels as innovations in campus policing and reported that other universities have shown interest in starting programs modeled after USM’s.
Beecher also gave updates on campus crimes that occurred earlier in the year, including a rash of backpack thefts and alleged stalkings.
In the case of the thefts, Beecher reported that campus police were able to work in conjunction with the Portland Police Department to identify the perpetrator, who was not a USM student. The police discovered that the man was entering classrooms posing as a student and stealing items from bags around him. No witnesses saw him commit the crimes, so he could not be charged with theft. Instead, he was charged with trespass and campus police have been given his description.
A second update dealt with Greg Williams, an alleged stalker who approached more than a dozen women on campus last fall. Beecher believes that Williams, who was convicted of criminal trespass at the University of Utah before he arrived in Maine, has left the Portland area. She regrets that police in Williams’ next destination will have to learn of his past the hard way.
“My thought is that he’s probably moved on to another university town. My only regret is not knowing where he is, we can’t forward the information,” she said.
Guest speaker II
Judy Ryan, the vice president of the Division of Student Development was the second speaker on Friday’s agenda. Ryan presented the University’s plans to increase recreation and parking fees as well as parking fines and create a new administrative fee related to the Student Conduct Committee.
Ryan’s presentation stirred considerable debate among senators.
For more, please see Students shell out page 1.
At-Large Sen. Marcy Muller nominated Amanda Stewart, chair of Portland Events Board, to be Student Leader of the Month for March in appreciation for her hard work. The Senate supported the nomination and Stewart was awarded the title.
A second award, the Student Leader of the Year, was given to Jeffrey Maietta for his work in the Student Legal Services Office. “He has poured his heart and soul into that office,” said Sen. LaBerge.
The final two awards, the USM Student Senate Distinguished Service Award and the USM Student Senate Special Service Award recognized those who have worked in or for the Senate.
The Distinguished Service Award, which is given to a Senate member, was presented to Commuter Sen. Brittany Esposito for her work above and beyond the responsibilities of her position. Many in the Senate had warm words for Esposito, including Resident Sen. Mark Royer who expressed his appreciation simply saying, “She’s been the man.”
The Special Service Award is for any person, senator or not, who has provided outstanding service to the Senate. This award was granted to incoming senator Lauri Quirrion who currently works in the Student Senate Business Office. Senate Business Manager Kathleen Pease expressed her admiration and appreciation for Quirrion, who has helped her throughout the year.
Congratulations to all recipients.
The Senate went into a brief executive session to discuss personnel issues concerning the transfer of Senate employees Jessica Lockhart, James Rand, John Joyce, and Barry Sawicki of WMPG and Bonita Rodden of The Free Press.
When full session resumed, the Senate voted to approve job descriptions for these employees.
Sen. Parliamentarian Ben Hoffman sponsored three new proposals which will be discussed in the April 13 session.
Two new student group constitutions were presented, one for a Pre-Medical Students Association, and the second for a Macintosh Users Group.
The third proposal concerned a title change for Kathleen Pease, whose current title is “Student Senate Business Manager.” Hoffman’s proposal recommends a change in the USM Student Senate Constitution to refer to Pease’s position as “Coordinator of USM Student Senate Operations.”
The Student Senate account stands at $750.57 exactly.
The following senators were absent without proxy from Friday’s meeting: Commuter Sen. David Johnson and Sen. Ricky Nadeau of the 29th Student Senate, and Commuter Sen. Jeanette Burns and Resident Sen. Tiffany Cumming of the 30th Student Senate.
The next meeting of the Student Senate will be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 13 in the
Hastings Formal Lounge, Gorham.
See Senate draws fewer votes on page 3.
One vacancy remains for a resident senator.
New senators will be required to attend three of the five remaining meetings of the 29th Student Senate in accordance with the Student Senate Constitution.