In Aftermath of StuVi 2 Tragedy, BU Begins Review of Security and Alert System
In Aftermath of StuVi 2 Tragedy, BU Begins Review of Security and Alert System
BU official: “This is not something to take lightly. The security of our students is my highest priority.”
Editor’s note: This story contains references to suicide that some readers may find disturbing.
More than a week after a 33-year-old man from Cambridge fell to his death at Boston University’s Student Village II residence hall, raising questions about security and safety, BU officials say a number of steps and conversations are underway as a result of the tragedy and that a task force is studying what changes should be made.
Two separate investigations remain ongoing: one is examining University security and safety protocols and how the person managed to get into the building and up to the 26th floor; the second is focused on the individual, and why he ended up in that particular building.
“We have to make sure our students are safe and secure in all the different areas they interact at the University,” says Kris Klinger, BU’s vice president of Auxiliary Services, who oversees campus housing and who put together the task force. “We take that very seriously. As soon as this occurred, we began looking into it. It’s less about pointing fingers and blaming and more about how do we reduce the chances of this happening again.”
The incident occurred late in the evening of February 15, when the man, whose name BU Today is withholding (and who had no association with BU), managed to enter the residence hall and make his way up without being stopped. When BU Police Department officers caught up with him, they tried, but were unable, to prevent him from climbing up to a small, elevated window that was not designed to be opened except in case of smoke or a fire in the building.
Klinger confirms reports that two staff security assistants in his department (staff members, not students) who were on duty at the time of the incident have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
Kelly Nee, BU’s chief safety, security, and preparedness officer, says the University intended to send two alerts to the entire BU community through its messaging alert system the night of the incident, but a glitch prevented the alerts from reaching everyone.
BU’s messaging alert system is now being reviewed, Nee says. And she is proposing that more frequent tests of the system be implemented, as well as weekly internal tests for those responsible for sending the alerts out.
“We will correct the system,” Nee says. “The community alert from BUPD did not hit its intended audience. We believe the glitch has been rectified.”
Klinger says the task force he has set up comprises senior officials from four areas across the University—Housing, Residence Life, Facilities, and the BUPD. The incident was an isolated case, he says, but nonetheless a full review is warranted. “We’ll be working with different entities in the University in assessing building security to look for additional measures that need to be implemented,” he says.
The task force will work quickly, with the goal of reporting preliminary findings by the end of March.
“This is not something to take lightly,” Klinger says. “The security of our students is my highest priority.”
Nee says one question may never be answered: “We have no idea why he chose this building. It seems random. Why he picked 33 Agganis Way will probably forever be a mystery to us.”
But regardless of that, she adds, “We need to learn from this—and we will.”
Crisis counselors are available at Student Health Services Behavioral Medicine, 881 Commonwealth Ave., 617-353-3569. Crisis counseling is also available through SHS Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center, 930 Commonwealth Ave., 617-353-7277. Marsh Chapel chaplains may be reached at 617-353-3560, for all members of the community. And faculty and staff seeking counseling are encouraged to reach out to the Faculty & Staff Assistance Office by calling 617-353-5381 or through its website.
It’s not about pointing the finger or blaming anyone, yet we are going to place two security guards on leave.
Thank you for your comment. Your comment was edited, as you will see. We want to encourage the dialogue but without speculation or assumptions on such a sensitive matter.
Alumnus School of Management
Following this tragedy with additional coverage is a good step. Thank you for the well written story. Enhancing student campus safety and well-being needs to have better leadership. From leveraging the RAs resources and communication to the Dean of Students. The executive in charge of this area the “VP of Auxiliary Services” has a bloated department with three different Vice Presidents in total and numerous directors. Are there staff on campus both visible and supportive to the student body each and every day.
Has the leadership held an all hands or town hall on west campus to talk with students and staff about health and safety.
Good to see that BU is open to addressing this and not covering it up. I’m disappointed in the BU Alert system failing, as well as the security guards allowing the person into the building. However, from the looks of it, appropriate actions were taken and hopefully we won’t see this again.
I understand the wish to prevent misinformation, but the quick response to edit the other person’s comment, despite the other person’s comment sounding like it was a criticism of the insidious level of secrecy surrounding this incident, shows just how hypocritical both BU and BU-affiliated news (like BU Today) is. The fact students still don’t fully know what happened is suspicious, students are getting weary and more jaded by BU’s lack of care by the day and drive to cover things up.
Nothing says we have nothing to hide quite like editing other people’s comments.
I appreciate your thoughts. Unfortunately, the parts that were edited included assumptions and suggestions about things nobody knows or statements that were simply untrue. On a story like this, we will always err on the side of being more conservative and respectful of what we approve. As we learn more, then we can share more, without speculating or guessing or assuming. — The editors
I appreciate you doing your best to keep this complicated matter as sensitive as it should be for individuals that could potentially be triggered by what occurred. My question is if BU’s response is to claim that our “mental health and wellbeing” and our “safety” are of the utmost priority, why has the president still yet to acknowledge what occurred? The fact that neither the dean of students nor the president have emailed the students expressing support is abysmal. An email should have gone out the morning after if not the night of. 3.3 Billion dollar endowment, a world renowned university, and still to this day (over a week from a horrific tragedy that effected students in ways the school simply does not comprehend) and the president has yet to tell the students he is here to support us and acknowledge BU’s failures in the matter. Inexcusable. Did the presidents email glitch that evening as well? He was able to email us about a BU survey! One which i’m sure will be riddled with complaints about BU’s response to this. I just want the president AND the dean to speak to the students.
I am surprised to hear the President or Dean of Students has not directly engaged the students. A death by suicide occurred and we would expect better empathy and communication from the University President about the tragedy and the failures.
The student body deserves much more transparency from leadership. Not in several weeks but now. The office of auxiliary services would benefit from stronger more engaging leadership.
During the security review. The “VP for Auxiliary Service” should disclose the incidents of intrusion and improper access to student dorm and housing for past three years.
This continues to be a disgusting mess. I’ve been through a similar situation that occurred in a dorm well over 20 years ago at my alma mater. The night after, less than a day after, we had a town hall meeting. Email communications, available, relevant staff, and administration were all with us in the wake of the events we were either witness to, or were closely located to the sad events of the night. Why can’t BU drop everything and give the same attention to this matter that another much smaller school was able to, at a time when there were far fewer ways of communicating with its students. Let’s get it together. Come down from your ivory tower and get in the streets, get in the dorm, hire private security in the meantime, or off duty BPD. Student safety is your most important duty. In loco parentis…or have you forgotten your latin?
And notice spring break has come and gone and the administration has continued a path of lack of transparency. Does the Dean of Student’s office and the “Dean of Auxiliary Services” have a grasp on the campus needs?
BU Today has not reported that a town hall or all hands was held at the student dorm or west campus but it will never be to late for BU to do so. Observers at this point are wondering about the lack of engagement by the President. Has the “VP of Auxiliary Services” and the well resourced management team talked one on one with students and staff? Dorm safety should be one of the highest priority. Security does not begin and end solely at the dorm entry point. Safety should be a wide and integrated part of the campus. Question. When was the last time the President walked through a west campus dorm or even stopped to talk with students.
BU Today. Please continue to cover this story and topic. On return from spring recess we hope the President and the “VP of Auxiliary Services” has some value added contributions to the tragic issue and campus safety.
BU Today. Please consider covering the work the Dean of Students Office has done to address the problem. Unless we missed something it appears they are virtually absent from engaging the issue.