ASU programs to enhance public safety on- and off-campus

June 16, 2014

Arizona State University will implement a series of new and enhanced programs and policies for the fall 2014 semester focused on enhancing public safety and improving the well-being of the community and quality of life for its students, residents in surrounding communities and campus visitors.

Jim Rund, senior vice president for Educational Outreach and Student Services, discussed ASU’s plan as part of the Statewide Student Safety Task Force public meeting hosted by the Arizona Board of Regents on ASU’s Tempe campus June 16. The University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University also presented their plans. Download Full Image

Highlights of ASU’s plan include:

• improving educational efforts aimed at new students and their parents so that the Student Code of Conduct is understood and standards of safety are clear

• extending university student support services to off-campus residences that are in proximity of campus to improve standards of safety and provide personal and academic supports that make transitioning to off-campus living less complicated for students

• working in tandem with local police departments to ensure routine matters of public safety are well coordinated and responded to

“We appreciate the opportunity given to us by the regents and ABOR President Eileen Klein to work through this process. It has led to a renewed cooperative relationship with the City of Tempe and shared goals as it relates to public safety and the well-being of the community,” Rund said. “We believe we have developed intended actions and recommendations to further enhance quality of life in Tempe and for university students.”

ASU’s recommendations focus on several areas:

Coordinate public safety:

• Arizona State University is planning to establish a joint strategic planning group and event task force with the City of Tempe to help make the campus and surrounding community safer.

• ASU will also develop and implement policy changes to address on- and off-campus public safety, to include security plans and safety standard for off-campus apartments, safety standards for first responders, revised standard for football game/event management and other sponsored events.

• A comprehensive memorandum of understanding between ASU and the City of Tempe Police Departments also will be implemented in September 2014.

University standards and expectations:

• All new students will be familiar with the ABOR Student Code of Conduct and complete online training relevant to university standards and behavioral expectations.

• Safety and security standards will be strengthened in off-campus student communities.

• Educational efforts focused on student safety, crime prevention, sexual violence and mental health will be enhanced and expanded.

• Positive social engagement and public events for community youth and university students will be expanded and enhanced.

Community outreach and education:

• Provide more visibility of ASU students and staff in local high schools through value-added programs/services (high school to college transition, mentoring, positive role-modeling).

• Set clear expectations for new students and parents (i.e. zero tolerance for behavior inconsistent with university standards).

• Prepare ASU student for transition to responsible citizenship while moving from on- to off-campus and becoming members of the local community.

• Provide ongoing education for persistent communication with all ASU students reinforcing institutional expectations for all members of the university community.

Additional recommendations for ABOR consideration include reviewing student safety policies on a regular basis; conducting an independent assessment of public safety needs at the three state universities; appointing a non-voting member for the Governor’s Office to focus on public safety and student safety concerns; and identifying funding sources for policing and public safety.

The Statewide Student Safety Task Force was established by ABOR in the fall of 2013 to promote the safety of students both on- and off-campus, and to seek best practices to support and encourage student safety and new ways to promote healthy behaviors and activities for students.

Each university established a local task force with representatives from the university, local law enforcement, local elected officials, Greek life, student government, parents of students enrolled at the university, on- and off-campus multi-housing units, an organization affiliated with extracurricular activities and the local school district.

The three state universities will have their final reports to ABOR July 1. Several working groups will then move things forward and affect changes so the recommended programs will be in place for fall semester.

ASU students receive scholarships for international research on religion, conflict

June 16, 2014

Why does wartime rape vary both within and across conflicts? What role have religious leaders played in peacebuilding efforts in Latin America? How can we improve our understanding of the differences between religious and ethnic factors in conflicts around the world?

These are some of the questions that recipients of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict’s prestigious Friends of the Center research scholarships are exploring overseas this summer. The Friends of the Center awards are granted annually to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research on religion, conflict and peace studies. Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict Research Awards Download Full Image

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict recently hosted its annual student luncheon to celebrate these award recipients, and to acknowledge the incredible work of ASU students who are investigating the complex dynamics between religion and conflict.

“Through our research awards, the center has an opportunity to help students travel around the world and work on a diverse range of projects,” says Linell Cady, director of the center and professor of religious studies.

“These scholarships are made possible by the generous donations we receive from private individuals who are committed to advancing the center’s research and education programs.”

The 2014 winners of the Friends of the Center awards include one undergraduate: Emily Fritcke; and three graduate students: Lucia Cash, A.J. Simmons and Holly Williamson.

Fritcke and Cash’s research projects both focus on the religious dynamics of countries that have experienced major political shifts.

Fritcke, an honors student in Barrett, the Honors College, is double-majoring in English literature and history. She will spend part of her summer in Romania with Ileana Orlich, professor of Romanian studies and comparative literature and director of the Romanian program at ASU. Fritcke will examine the conflict between the Orthodox Church and Greek Catholics of eastern Romania, and she will have the opportunity to visit historic sites and engage with experts on her research.

Cash, a doctoral student in religious studies, is working on a project that examines the role of Uruguayan religious leaders during the country’s period of dictatorship and its transition to democratic rule. Even though over half of Uruguay’s population is Christian, it is the most secular country in Latin America. Because of this, few people have studied the period of the Uruguayan dictatorship in relation to the country’s religious institutions. Cash is using her award to travel to Uruguay for two months to collect research materials from public libraries and other sources only available in Uruguay.

The two other award recipients, Williamson and Simmons, are both doctoral students in ASU’s School of Politics and Global Studies. Each of them is conducting research about religious and ethnic factors in modern conflicts.

Williamson is using her award to spend three weeks in Bosnia. She will conduct interviews with religious organizations, NGOs, local experts, community members and combatants involved in the Bosnian war in order to develop an understanding of the nature and effects of wartime rape. More specifically, she will explore how religious, ethnic and national identities have been mobilized in military operations to justify rape. In doing this, she hopes to conduct some of the research that is needed to understand how these identities may have been invoked to unify combatants to justify rape as a military strategy.

Simmons’ project builds on literature concerning the origins and dynamics of religious and ethnic conflict by investigating differences in their duration and intensity. He hopes to expand understandings of the systematic differences between religious and ethnic factors. Improving these types of data could help people more effectively manage conflicts by focusing on the issues that matter most in different disputes.

Each of the award winners will report back to the center in the fall with reflections on their summer research and the future of their projects.

In addition to presenting the 2014 Friends of the Center research scholarships at the awards lunch, the center also recognized students who completed the 2013-14 undergraduate research fellows program and those who were awarded the 2013-2014 certificates in religion and conflict.

Story by Matt Correa and Emily Fritcke

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict is a research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that examines the role of religion as a driving force in human affairs.