From the President

Campus and community safety are of the utmost importance

Posted June 20, 2019

Dear members of the Metropolitan State community:

As you know from yesterday afternoon’s safety alert, a university employee was assaulted and injured on our campus. The individual who was attacked is now resting at home. The incident was promptly reported to the Saint Paul Police Department (SPPD) through a 911 call and the campus safety notice was issued. 
 
At this time SPPD has made no arrests, and we expect to learn more as the police conduct their investigation over the next several days. I encourage anyone who may have information to contact SPPD.

This violent act is frightening and violates all of our most important university principles of anti-racism, openness, welcome, inclusion and security. The safety of each and every member of our community is of the utmost importance to us and we are doing all we can to assist the police in their investigation.
 
SPPD has stepped up patrols around campus and our security team is also making more frequent foot patrols through campus buildings and grounds.

Prior to yesterday’s event, and because of the university’s commitment to safety and security, VP for Finance and Operations, Tracy Hatch, restructured the Campus Operations department to include a Campus Safety and Emergency Management Coordinator who will focus solely on safety and security issues. Jason Fellows has been hired for this position and began work today. He brings over 11 years of experience in the field of security operations.

In addition, you may also recall that the University received bids for our security contract this spring and will be migrating to a new security company, G4S, on July 1. Some of our best and most experienced security officers have accepted G4S’ offer to remain at Metro. In addition, G4S also is bringing many officers to our campus who also have higher ed experience on an urban campus.

Finally, we are also in the final stages of hiring a new Campus Operations Director, with on-campus interviews being held this next week. This position will also focus more heavily on safety and security issues than it has in the past.

We live in volatile and contentious times. An attack on any member of our community is an attack on all of us and creates feelings of fear and insecurity. We will continue to stand strong together and extend a supportive hand, especially to those who may be feeling most vulnerable. In addition to friends, colleagues, faculty, advisors and staff throughout the university, we have many resources to help you cope with these events.
  
Students who are experiencing stressful circumstances can contact Counseling Services (using this URL) or the Dean of Students, Ms. Maya Sullivan (maya.sullivan@metrostate.edu; 651-793-1508). Academic advisors and faculty members can also provide support and connect students with needed resources.

International students may also seek support and referrals to services from our International Student Services office (Founders Hall 231; 651-793-1219, and at this URL).

Employees with questions or concerns can find support by contacting:
 

  • Ms. Deb Gehrke, CHRO; deb.gehrke@metrostate.edu, 651-793-1278 (please note that Deb is out of the office on Thursday, 6/20 and Friday, 6/21).
  • Mr. Andrew Skluzacek, assistant HR director; andrew.skluzacek@metrostate.edu, 651-793-1340.
  • Ms. Natalie Conway, assistant HR director; Natalie.conway@metrostate.edu, 651-793-1325.
  • Mr. Craig Morris, Equal Opportunity and Chief Diversity Officer, craig.morris@metrostate.edu; 651-793-1272; Any persons with concerns about apparent discrimination or harassment should contact the University’s Equal Opportunity and Chief Diversity Officer Mr. Craig Morris.
  • Employees who are dealing with stress may confidentially access the Employee Assistance Program, LifeMatters (using its website here). 

 
Please share the resources above with any members of our community who may be seeking such support and may not have seen this message, as we walk together through the days ahead.

Please remember to take the sensible safety precautions outlined in Wednesday's safety alert:
 

  1. If you notice any suspicious behaviors on or around campus, please immediately notify University Safety Officers and/or the police.
  2. If you are a victim of crime, please immediately inform the University Safety Officers and/or call the police.
  3. Call for escorts or walk with others, choose well-lit and direct areas at night and remain alert; walk confidently and purposefully.

 
Contacting a Safety Officer

Call 1717 on any Saint Paul campus phone. The caller will hear instructions and can select what Safety Officer they are interested in contacting; the Library and Learning Center, Student Center, parking ramp or main campus safety staff.

Over the next few days I will work with University leaders to monitor the situation, share information as we learn more and are able to, and develop other actions to help restore a sense of peace on our campus. If you have ideas for particular activities that would help assuage your concerns please let me know.

Please be assured that we are doing all we can to prevent any such future incidents. 
 
With my deepest concern,

President Virginia "Ginny" Arthur