Campus News

Students, UW police chief discuss campus safety issues

UW-Madison Police Department Chief of Police Kristen Roman discussed campus safety at a talk at Memorial Union. 

Image By: Sydney Widell

The Wisconsin Union Directorate Society and Politics Committee hosted a roundtable discussion to address campus safety initiatives Wednesday evening.

UW-Madison Police Department Chief of Police Kristen Roman discussed with students at Memorial Union various safety topics both on- and off-campus.

The event addressed the recent visit to campus by Me Too founder Tarana Burke. In her talk, she emphasized the university’s role in making tangible changes to campus safety, specifically in the case of sexual assault. 

WUD SoPo Committee Chair Tanvi Tilloo guided the group through a series of open-ended questions about their experiences on campus. 

Students brought up concerns about rape culture on campus and the challenges that accompany keeping students safe in off-campus areas, where the university may have a lack of discretion. 

Tilloo said she and other organizers intended for the discussion to foster constructive communication about the issue. 

“We didn’t want this to be about blaming the university,” Tilloo said. 

Roman said she wants to do what she can to take an active role in engaging with students about their safety concerns in the future. She also responded to concerns about the lack of reports of abuse from victims, which some students at the discussion said could be due to negative stigma around reporting to police.

“I want to send a message that encourages victims to be comfortable reporting to us,” Roman said. “Our role is one of support, providing information, advocacy, prevention and awareness.”

Roman said it is important to have discussions about these issues with different members of the campus community because “no entity can do it alone.”

“We are a community and in order for us to really promote safety and do the best that we can to ensure safety, we all have to come together,” Roman said. “It’s about empowering students to expect more and to actively roll up their sleeves and make things better.”

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