Rutgers University Senate
Budget and Finance Committee
Report on Charge S-0208: Safety Issues, Classroom/Building Security, and Vandalism

January 2007

Original Charge S-0208 to the Budget & Finance Committee (Menahem Spiegel, Chair): Safety Issues, Classroom/Building Security and Vandalism: Investigate the level of security normally maintained in classroom and office/research buildings, and the current levels of vandalism and other criminal behavior in those buildings. Investigate the use of buildings/classrooms for after-hours study space*, and whether there is an increased cost of maintenance and repair due to unsupervised use. Formulate a policy for locking buildings and classrooms to ensure security. Make recommendations on how to provide students with space on each campus for after-hours study, and the amount of space that seems appropriate.* Explore risk-reduction strategies and mechanisms, and ways to heighten awareness of safety issues. Investigate the potential for a safety week on campus each semester or year. In addition, explore the potential for a website that would include a safety forum for discussion and hazard evaluation. [*The Student Affairs Committee was asked to provide input on the kinds and amounts of after-hours study space that would meet student needs, and on ways to address problems of vandalism. That input was forwarded to the Budget and Finance Committee on January 17, 2003.] Report to Executive Committee by November 2006.

Preliminary report [] submitted to Executive Committee September 2004, Reviewed October 1, 2004.
Addendum to Charge 10/04: Using the committee’s September 28, 2004 preliminary report on this issue as a basis for discussions, apply the same review and considerations to safety and security issues on the Newark and Camden campuses. Respond to Senate Executive Committee by November 2006.

This charge was dealt with extensively by the Senate Budget and Finance Committee during the 2003/2004, 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 academic years. A preliminary report was submitted to the Senate Executive Committee in September 2004. That report did not address the Newark or Camden campuses, and a subsequent Addendum to the charge asked that the review also be extended to consider these two campuses. The committee met with Felix James (Associate Provost for Community Outreach in charge of Camden Police Department)  and with Martin Ryan (Associate Vice Provost of Facilities and Public Safety on the Newark campus)  and  with Michael P. Lattimore (Chief/Director of Public Safety on the Newark campus).

Rutgers University, as well as many very prestigious private and public universities located in urban areas, share a common problem of criminal activity carried out against members of their communities. They have all tried to reduce the image of the "safety problem" in order to attract better students, faculty and staff. The committee noted the impressive progress made in recent years in upgrading campus safety and security as was evident from our discussions with the respective representatives from Camden and Newark campuses. Nevertheless, crime on our campuses cannot be treated just from its historical and statistical perspectives. Committee members pointed out that there is asymmetry in public perception of safety and security, in that it takes only one (or a few) severe incidents to wipe out the good perception built on many years of excellent work and investment in safety and security. Therefore, it is well perceived on both campuses that the never-ending objective of the safety departments is to work relentlessly to prevent negative incidents from happening, as their costs to the victim and to the Rutgers community would be high. The recent incidents (end of November 2006) of criminal activity on the Newark campus reinforce the need for additional resources and attention to the safety needs in Newark and Camden.


The two cities, Camden and Newark, and their respective Rutgers campuses share similar safety and security issues. Therefore, many of our recommendations apply to both. Our recommendations are listed below:

Recommendation 1:

Improve the connection, communication and work-sharing between Rutgers and the local police forces, and especially with the municipal police. Rutgers should request (negotiate) that the city augment crime-prevention activities specifically aimed at the campus community.


Rutgers campuses in both Newark and Camden are major contributors to their host cities' economic, financial and cultural well-being. Both cities benefit from the well-being of their university community. In particular, in light of possible future budget cuts, we recommend that Rutgers negotiate with each of the two cities the specific means and actions that should be taken in order to improve the safety and security of the campus communities. As was pointed out by many members of the Senate Budget and Finance Committee, an increase in criminal activity on campus or in close proximity to the campus might adversely affect the ability of the campuses to thrive, and undermine Rutgers' ability to impart a positive influence on the cities of Newark and Camden.. Rutgers University is one of the more successful ambassadors to these cities.

Recommendation 2:

Improve and increase the visibility of security personnel.


Representatives of both Newark and Camden campuses pointed out to us that an important element in the perception of safety and security is visibility of security personnel (police or non-police security). Presence of uniformed security personnel deters crime and raises the confidence level of the members of the university community. The cost of this increase could be mitigated through increased use of non-police, uniformed security personnel.

Recommendation 3:

Expand cooperation and cost sharing of public safety activities with other higher education institutions (NJIT, Essex county college in Newark) and with other institutions in Camden.


In Newark, the cost of operating the (CHEN) shuttle van service is shared by several beneficiaries’ (institutions of higher education). This type of inter-institution cooperation and cost sharing might be expanded to other activities of the department of public safety. It might well be that this expansion should be initiated by higher administrative levels and not be left to the department of public safety. We believe that such cooperation will increase the effectiveness of crime prevention activities.
Recommendation 4:

Enhance the ease and efficiency of swipe-card-controlled entry to buildings and facilities that are used legitimately by members of the campus communities.


This recommendation is directed more to the Camden campus. It is important to encourage faculty, students and staff to use university facilities for university-related activities. To do so it is recommended to ease the access to the personal place of work and study by faculty and graduate students after the regular working hours. At the same time it is important to make sure that users of the facilities will have access to fast communication with the public safety department. (Currently, after-hours access to most facilities needs to be coordinated first with the public safety department.) We believe that increasing use of university facilities is a desired objective for university life in general and for safety in particular.

Recommendation 5:

Spread the good word about the safety of our campuses.


The main perception and image problem for Newark and Camden campuses is not with the students who come to study in these campuses. The main problem is with those who decide not to come because of an image (or perception) problem of those campuses. Thus, New Jersey residents and out-of-state students enroll at other schools because of the misperception that Rutgers campuses unsafe. Data presented to us by Mr. Ryan, suggest that the safety of the Newark campus (as evidenced by relevant crime statistics) is fairly high relative to comparable campuses. Rutgers should communicate to the university community and especially to prospective students, through all available means, that safety and security receive focused attention, and should publicize the success of campus-security programs and measures.