Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Thanks, Dave

After roughly three years as Georgetown’s first vice president for university safety, David Morrell will leave his position later this month to pursue other career options.

Morrell will be remembered for his efforts to lead by example and connect with students.

In 2004, Morrell formed the Student Safety Advisory Board in response to a rash of nearly two dozen burglaries on campus that year. The SSAB uses annual surveys to determine which areas of the neighborhood and aspects of security require the most immediate attention.

The results of the survey include the addition of several streetlights to off-campus areas frequented by students and better cooperation with the Metropolitan Police Department. Though it may seem like the installation of streetlights should be a simple project, the university must face the daunting task of negotiating with several neighborhood parties, including the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, before placing new streetlights.

Morrell’s term was not without setbacks. Last year’s comments by MPD Lt. Felicia Lucas, who blamed student’s reveling for several extremely violent crimes in the area, drew the ire of many students who felt the university failed to work properly with MPD to ensure that any security plan at Georgetown takes the needs of students into consideration and better informs them of their role in the Georgetown community. But due in large part to Morrell’s work, the relationship between MPD and Georgetown students shows signs of improvement. The SSAB now distributes information to students living off campus informing them of their rights and obligations as residents, as well as expectations of them if and when MPD officers arrive at their door.

Improvements to the popular SafeRides service have also been a significant success of Morrell’s work. The program was plagued in its early phases by staffing and funding problems and complaints by area residents about the vans’ presence late at night. The SSAB essentially rescued and revamped the floundering service, expanding it into two regular and more convenient bus routes that serve to help weary-eyed Hoyas safely find their way home after a long night at Lauinger Library.

The most impressive example of Morrell’s work, however, has been his willingness to spend several of his weekend nights strolling the campus – together with Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson and other administrators – to gain a better understanding of the nature of student nightlife and better serve students.

University safety has certainly come a long way since orrell’s arrival, but his successor must continue to search for a way to replace several DPS call boxes around campus that were removed for being ineffective. He must update the SSAB Web site, which has the potential to become a significant resource for students, but sadly continues to display information that is several years’ out of date. And he should follow his example and continue to be an advocate for DPS officers, whose union is mired in contractual disputes with the university surrounding the department’s inexcusably low wages.

Morrell’s time at Georgetown has been a success, and he should be remembered for ably incorporating a new leadership position into the university’s system and working tirelessly never to lose sight of his goal – the safety of Georgetown students.

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