OSU implementing new strategies promoting education, enforcement, accountability

Oregon State University, along with the City of Corvallis and other partners, has announced several proposed strategies focusing on education, enforcement and accountability that will be implemented starting now and will continue into to be implemented in the near future.

Six of the 20 proposed strategies have been identified as priority, and are currently being implemented, according to Steve Clark, the OSU vice president of university relations and marketing.

According to the university, “The focus of this strategy is to agree on and implement prioritized immediate initiatives for the next year.”

Included in these six strategies are expanded coordinated efforts with the Corvallis Police Department (CPD), which involves the hiring of three additional Community Livability officers.

Clark said the over arching goal of these initiatives is to increase student safety and community livability.

According to the strategy’s text, provided by OSU, the intended outcomes for the increased number of city officers includes “a better understanding of laws, student code and conduct regarding livability, the understanding of potential consequences for violations of laws and student code of conduct, and livability related offenses and disruptions on and off campus.”

In addition to the CPD staffing increase, another strategy focuses on the addition of two more Oregon State Police (OSP) officers on the OSU campus. The intent behind this move according to Clark and the university strategy is to increase engagement with the community and the police in non-enforcement capacities.

This includes more contact, education, presentation and community policing efforts. A large part of the education is informing potential party hosts of the associated risks such as how to hold a safe party, how to follow laws correctly, and ultimately reduce nuisance party issues and decrease behavior that impacts community livability.

“Information is a very powerful tool that will increase the livability within the community,” Clark said.

The addition of these five officers will cost a total of $2.45 million dollars, according to Clark., and covers the next four years.

The City of Corvallis will pay $450 thousand this year to the three Livability officers starting in July, but OSU will supply the city with $1.2 million over the last three years for those positions.

OSU will pay $200 thousand a year for four years for the two additional OSP officers.

According to Clark, the university has already reallocated $600 thousand from existing funds to help fund the additional five officers.

OSU has yet to identify where the remaining $1.4 million dollars that it will spend on these initiatives will come from though, Clark said.

“We’ll look at that over the next six to eight weeks,” Clak said..

Several students have voiced their discontent with the universities decision to use funding to increase the number of police officers in teh community.

Tabitha Pitzer, a sophomore in political science, does not think student tuition dollars should be put towards funding more officers in the community.

“I think that it is absurd that our tuition dollars that are supposed to be spent to support our education and our services that our institution provides us are going to the city to increase our number of officers,” Pitzer said. “I came to Oregon State to receive an education, not fund the police force.”

Clark stated to support their strategies, OSU needs help from the city, which means helping fund additional officers.

“The grants are for the city to manage the strategies,” Clark explained. “OSU can’t hire city police officers.”

The priority strategies also include further increasing joint operations with CPD and OSP and the OSU Department of Public Safety, including the intended increase of the public perception of enforcement.

Another strategy focuses on creating new Municipal Law to reduce alcohol related offenses.

The remaining two priority strategies revolve around implementing OSU Welcome Week Orientation Programs related to the Code of Student Conduct, which Clark said will help increase student awareness, and more outreach to clubs, student organizations and cultural centers.

Clark said these strategies and initiatives are the result of collaborations between University Housing and Dining Services, Student Affairs, the office of Diversity Cultural Engagement, student conduct representatives, CPD and OSP, the Community Relations Advisory Group (CRAG) as well as other groups.

“Our work has been extensive,” Clark said. “We’ve met with leaders from the ASOSU, the Memorial Union, Greek life, in addition to other student leaders for input and engagement.”

CPD could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

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