Minneapolis mayor talks campus safety with U of M student leaders

From the U — just a little update on its public-safety conversation with city leaders:

University of Minnesota students and leaders discuss public safety with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges
Mayor spent time on Twin Cities campus today as part of her ‘One Minneapolis’ tour

As the University of Minnesota Twin Cities continues its collaborative, multi-pronged approach to enhancing safety on and around campus, U leaders welcomed new Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges earlier today for a public safety discussion with student groups.

Hodges spent the noon hour in Coffman Memorial Union, making campus a stop on “Public Safety Day” of her 10-day, “One Minneapolis” tour. She met with a representative group of students, including leaders from the Minnesota Student Association (MSA), the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) and other student groups. University President Eric Kaler welcomed the newly inaugurated mayor on her first trip to campus and thanked the students for their engagement on this critically important topic.

The conversation was led by University Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Danita Brown Young; Vice President for University Services Pam Wheelock; and University Police Chief Greg Hestness.

“Students are most directly impacted by safety issues and are vital partners as we work together to make sure the University remains a safe and welcoming place to live and learn,” said Brown Young. “The ideas and insights provided by our students are invaluable. We thank Mayor Hodges for taking time to meet and interact with them directly.”

The University is dedicated to keeping its campus and students safe, involving multiple partners focused on education, environment, enforcement and engagement.

“The safety of the University community continues to be of highest priority, both on- and off-campus,” said Hestness, also a member of the mayor’s transitional team. “With more and more private student housing coming online, neighborhoods surrounding campus are evolving and becoming more densely populated. With many students calling these areas home, we are committed to a strong partnership with the City of Minneapolis, local law enforcement agencies and neighborhood groups to ensure safe and connected off-campus communities. Mayor Hodges taking the time to hear first-hand the thoughts and concerns of our students is indicative of this necessary and ongoing collaboration.”

While the number of on-campus major criminal offenses continued its 11-year decline in 2013, the fall semester saw an increase in robberies on and near campus. In response, targeted efforts by UMPD – including more than 300 hours of overtime patrols and concurrent work with municipal partners – have resulted in six recent arrests and dozens more legal stops, citations and gun seizures.

Also in attendance this afternoon were Minneapolis City Council Members Jacob Frey (Ward 3, which encompasses the Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods) and Blong Yang (Ward 5 and chair of the council’s public safety committee), along with Inspector Kathy Waite of the Minneapolis Police Department’s Second Precinct, which includes the University and surrounding areas.