On Yale’s urban campus, security and police-related issues are an inevitable concern for students. Some may wonder why there is no blue phone in a certain spot, others why Yale police officers broke up a party or arrested one of their friends.
So it may come as a surprise to many in the Yale community that the two standing committees devoted to campus security and police matters have met a grand total of zero times this year.
Standing committees are designed to give students a chance to affect the administrative decisions of the University in areas such as majors, undergraduate organizations and discipline — handled by the infamous Executive Committee.
Of the many standing committees that meet infrequently, the police and security committees appear to be among the most potentially significant to the entire student body.
Yale College Council Vice President Leah Zimmerman ’02, who oversees applications to the committees, called the security committee’s failure to meet “troubling.”
“That’s a committee that should be doing things that YCC and [the Freshman Class Council] have been doing,” she said.
On the committee applications, which are due in to the Yale College dean’s office this afternoon, the police advisory committee entry says it “meets rarely, if ever” while the security committee is “nonexistent.”
“The security committee has not met, nor have I heard any word from it or of it,” said Lisa Rudikoff ’01, one of the two students assigned to the committee. “I did think it was kind of weird that I never heard anything about it.”
The other student representative, Serge Grossman ’03, said he did not think regular meetings of the committee were necessary as long as the administration appropriately addresses related issues on its own.
“I’m sure if there was a big incident and concern was expressed, then the committee would be meeting more regularly,” Grossman said.
Deputy University Secretary Martha Highsmith, who coordinates Yale’s police and security programs, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the police advisory committee appears to have achieved unparalleled heights of unreachableness. The student who is listed as serving on the committee, Patrick Schweder ’01, has an e-mail address but no phone number or college affiliation listed in the online Yale directory.
Yale Police Chief James Perrotti, who nominally heads the police committee, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Regardless of their inactivity, Grossman said the committees remain useful.
“It is valuable to have these committees in place in case the need arises,” Grossman said. “If the administration were to consider a change in policy — then certainly you want student involvement.”