“Party Patrol” continues during the spring semester emphasizing student safety

Rowan University Security patrolling outside of Robinson hall before sunset. Security may also be found surrounding residential halls including Holly Pointe Commons and Mimosa hall. - Contributor / Marchella Mazzoni

During the Fall 2023 semester, Rowan students received over twenty Rowan Alerts including incidents of robberies, stabbing, sexual assaults, police activity, and investigations surrounding on and off nearby university grounds. As a result, for the spring 2024 semester, the Glassboro Police Department along with the Rowan Police, Student Patrol, and Public Safety team are taking new measures to ensure students’ safety around campus. 

Rowan’s campus will be adding additional patrol officers and Student Patrol members for this spring, increasing Student Patrol at night, and adding new lighting, technology such as key cards to get into hallways, and Code Blue’s premium solar towers. The Glassboro Police Department is continuing to bring in additional staffing for their Party Patrol to aid in off-campus incidents. 

“This is where you are going for your education and you can’t get a good education when you don’t feel safe,” said Rachel Baum, victim witness coordinator for the Department of Public Safety Victim Witness Services. “Your safety and security is our number one priority here. I believe that all of us here at our department feel strongly that the students in our willing community deserve to live and go to school in an environment where they feel safe.” 

Rowan patrol is equipped with several staff members including a minimum of three police officers and two security officers always on call. Rowan’s security team also provides escorts to walk around campus if needed. During night shifts, added patrol officers are stationed at Holly Pointe Commons and other residence halls on campus to have more eyes on high-traffic areas. 

A further element of Rowan Police’s endeavors is their introduction of four additional officers on patrol from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. These times tend to be the busiest for parties both on and off campus. Officers on foot or in vehicles will go to any off-campus incidents and patrol the entire campus and surrounding streets. 

All organizations that throw events on campus are required to communicate with the Public Safety Department. Some stipulations that determine how many officers need to be present at an event include, the event types, number of attendees, amount of outside students, and if there are money collections. All those who throw off-campus events are not required to contact the department. 

“Our goal here at Rowan is to provide that safe community for everyone because it’s a scary time coming as a freshman or a sophomore or a transfer student. Most people come from small towns up north or small towns down south and now you’re in this giant community,” said Rowan Security Officer Christopher Alessandrini. “Our goal is to make sure that not only can people feel safe from going from a to b, but also to know this campus is designed to incorporate everyone.”  

Rowan’s largest communication system with its students about emergencies to ensure public safety is through the Rowan Alert System and Mass Notification System. This is a service that allows the entire university community to register to receive emergency text messages and emails pertaining to warnings and advisories. 

Notifications cover timely warnings for incidents that represent a serious or continuing threat, university emergencies, as well as non-emergencies, including school closures and power outages. To stay notified of incidents and areas to avoid nearby campuses, it is encouraged that the entire school body subscribes for alerts through its Self-Service Banner. 

“I get from different numbers, alerts about power outages happening and if there’s a crime, things like that,” said Rowan sophomore graphic design major Gia Villanova. “It makes me feel more aware because I’m a commuter and I’m not in the know sometimes so it’s pretty helpful getting updates.” 

Working a line with the school year, The Glassboro Police Department will pursue any issues with the University through their Party Patrol which has been running since the early 2000s. This team follows the trends and activities that take place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights off-campus. They have seen a decrease in incidents reported since October and have found the fall season to be busier. 

This has allowed them to staff this group lighter in the spring semester with about four officers compared to the fall semester grouped by six to ten officers. If the department becomes aware of potential problems they will adjust their staffing. Glassboro Police Lieutenant Rick Watt advocates for Rowan students to adopt precautions for their safety.

“The biggest thing is to stay together and be responsible for each other. Try to if they are out having an evening where there is drinking involved and somebody knows they are going to be drinking, have people there to help keep an eye on them,” advised Lieutenant Rick Watt. “[Also] putting them in places that help themselves stay safe, not being in a house party that is 200-300 people where obviously if something happened, somebody could get hurt, just trying to be more responsible for where they are and what they’re doing which would help us keep them safer.”

Another measure taken by the Rowan Police and Public Safety Team is the expansion of their Student Patrol. This is an internship opportunity for juniors and seniors of the Law and Justice major. Seventeen members working in groups of two to four receive basic patrol tasks from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on campus to target nightlife high point hours. 

They are available to give walking escorts wherever and whenever needed. The team has reached the goal of increasing their Student Patrol team members by 25% this semester. Furthermore, they have expanded their number of interns in 2024 compared to previous years which in turn allows them to add new student patrols to assist with observing and reporting nightly on campus.  

“I think Student Patrol is a really good idea,” said Rowan junior marketing and management major, Anna Plowman. “It keeps students safe on campus, and people should utilize it more often.”

To implement more programming of prevention to prioritize students’ mental health and wellbeing, The Wellness Center offers Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Services. They provide counseling for individual group services for anyone struggling with drugs or alcohol as well as support groups.

If students violate the code of conduct, for example, are caught with alcohol in their room, they go through the Office of Community Standards. They will mandate students take an educational alcohol and drug policy class that is facilitated through AOD services. One of mental health and substance use clinician Tina Green’s major goals is to help students excel as scholars and overcome any challenges they are facing. 

“When our basic needs can’t be met it’s hard to kind of focus on those other areas that would be essential to our growth, which would be higher education. If we’re always in a state of worry…or even being traumatized by what we see or what we experience, it’s very hard to be productive as a college student,” stated Green. “We see the rise unfortunately of victimization that comes from sometimes different parties that people may attend because there may be excessive substance use… and what it could lead to and how it impacts others in those settings.” 

To ensure their safety, students are encouraged to utilize Rowan’s crime prevention programs such as Active Shooter Awareness Training and Discussion sessions, the Self-Defense Rape Aggression System Program, and safety escorts if needed provided by Rowan Police and Student Patrol. 

Some students have also created their own initiatives to ensure campus safety including, PULLA Tracker, an app created by psychology major Siena Rampulla at Rowan that ensures women feel secure on college campuses, and Rowan Karate & Self Defense Club. This semester we will continue to see an increase in new resources created that will strengthen student protection. 

“We’re all here to help and come out and support the students because again this is four years away from home you’re gonna get your education,” said Officer Alessandrini. “The last thing you want to do for your four years of being here is not feel like you’re involved. We want to make sure you are going to hit those four years and continue to thrive after Rowan.” 

Rowan’s Department of Public Safety will continue its added patrols through the Rowan Police Department in the 2024 school year. The Rowan police department patrols every day and night and is available 24/7 for non-emergency situations through their direct number to their dispatch center at 856-256-4922. 

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