Report shows that campus safety comes first

Amanda Cuerbo
Staff Writer

From verbal to physical violence, Public Safety's number one priority is to ensure the well-being of every student and faculty member. COURTESY OF HVCC.EDU

From verbal to physical violence, Public Safety’s number one priority is to ensure the well-being of every student and faculty member.

Hudson Valley’s Public Safety officers work tirelessly to ensure that every member of the community feels safe from the wee hours of the morning until long after night falls.

Director of Public Safety Fred Aliberti, campus officers and local police departments all collaborate to create a safer campus community. Their collective goal is to educate all members of the Hudson Valley campus on criminal prevention and awareness.

Aliberti and Louis Coplin, director of student activities, often run seminars throughout the semester that cover issues like sexual assault and domestic violence and provide tips about preventative measures students can take.

Aliberti also sets aside time each year to speak in freshmen forum classes about sexual violence, safety on campus and how students can speak up if something doesn’t seem right.
“Don’t be afraid to call someone and make use of the prevention measures,” Aliberti said. “If you see something, say something.”

According to the 2017 Campus Security Report, there have been two instances of forcible sex offenses reported since 2015.
“We made an arrest in 2016 for forcible touching, which occurred off campus,” Aliberti said. “Due to the recent changes with Title 9, we are also holding students accountable for their actions off campus now.”

These incidents, as well as three incidents of domestic violence that occurred off-campus in 2014, have motivated public safety to make sure students and the campus community have access to educational programs that address these issues. These programs are promoted through orientations, brochures, posters around campus and the event bulletin on the official Hudson Valley website.

Beyond prevention, public safety also pushes for students to be aware of the best ways to react in the event of a sexual or domestic assault.

The 2017 Campus Security Report provides a complete list of steps that a student or faculty member should take following a sex offense or domestic dispute. This includes how to leave the crime scene, who to contact and the best course of action that a person can take for him or herself.

The public safety department at Hudson Valley continually strives to find new ways to spread awareness throughout campus.

In May 2016, public safety and local police simulated an “active shooter” situation in the Lang building on campus with the help of volunteers. This type of simulation helps
educate the campus’ Emergency Response Team and community while also helping to formulate a better plan of action.

Recently, multiple scenarios of minor theft have been reported, such as that of a wallet or backpack. Two serious crimes of possession of weapons occurred in 2016, both taking place off-campus. One of these incidents resulted in an arrest.

“Someone overheard that one of the students had some type of weapon,” Aliberti said. “[Public saftey] responded, as well as the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department. It turned out he had brass knuckles, as well as a knife.”

Drug violations have been made, although the last reported incident was in 2015. Aliberti believes the recent decrease in drug-related violations is due to preventative measures taken on campus.

“Prevention and our patrol are the primary reasons,” Aliberti said. “It’s also reporting from students, if they smell marijuana and report it. [The decrease] is a combination of different reasons.”

According to Aliberti, the best way people can ensure their own safety on the Hudson Valley campus, or on any other, is to be aware of their surroundings.

“People today are so focused on their phones and not paying attention,” Aliberti said. “Wherever you are, learn to be aware. This will add to crime prevention.”

All educational programs are available to campus community members. Information on these events can be found on the events bulletin on the school website or through the Student Activity Center, located in the Siek Campus Center.

To report any criminal or suspicious activity, or to make use of the escort and safety services on campus, please call Public Safety at (518) 629-7210.

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