SGA improves relationships with local law enforcement

Courtesy of SGA

Courtesy of SGA

Jamille Whitlow, TheYard Editor

SGA has a student representative that attends the Greensboro Sheriff advisory board meetings to advocate for N.C. A&T’s students; in addition to, SGA will launch a student citizen police academy between students and UPD during the spring semester. 

Lena Vann, a junior transportation and supply chain management student, is the student representative for N.C. A&T. In comparison to the other Greensboro schools, she is the youngest and only student that attends the Sheriff’s advisory board meetings. 

The Sheriff’s Advisory board consists of various religious, social and collegiate representatives that express their opinions and concerns to the Sheriff directly. Their meetings are held monthly and Vann reports her information to SGA. Social media and emails are used  to notify the student body of any changes or new information about campus safety. Vann explained why the Guildford County Sheriff’s department started this initiative. 

“The department wants to reach out to marginalized communities that reside in Guildford County and have representatives serve on an advisory board to meet directly with the Sheriff,” said Vann. “The representatives can express their concerns and ways that the Sheriff  department can start implementing community policing styles,” said Vann.

The Guildford County Sheriff’s department reached out to every school in Guildford County so their school can be represented during their advisory meetings. As a result, SGA president, Brenda Caldwell, and VP External Affairs, Naomi Desta asked Vann to be N.C. A&T’s representative for the advisory board meetings. One of Vann’s goals is to be an advocate for students. 

“ My ultimate goal in this position is to advocate for the needs and wants of students. This includes reconstructing the way that our law enforcement system is currently structured. I’m here to give a perspective as much as possible to the people that attend the advisory board meetings,” said Vann.

Zaria Woodward, SGA Attorney General, is responsible for the relationship between the student body, the University police department and campus safety. Due to her role in SGA, she is helping Vann in advocating for student’s concerns amongst police authority. Woodward and SGA made a survey to ask students about their feedback and how SGA can improve the relationship between the student body and the university police department. 

“When I was told that this was what Lena is doing and she was going to be coming to some of our e-board meetings, we came up with the idea to create this survey to get some feedback about how the students really feel about policing in the area and on-campus, “ said Woodward. 

In the spring semester, UPD will launch a student citizen police academy for students to take a course that sees the daily operations of a UPD officer. Students have the opportunity to give feedback on what the department can improve on.  The academy plans to have a small group of people that will have in-person interactions with officers. The participants will be required to be tested COVID-19, the program will also have virtual aspects. 

As of now, Woodward explained that Lieutenant Cuthbertson and SGA  are currently spearheading the student citizens police academy, however, a new police chief will be leading the initiative in the spring semester. 

“ We are in the process of picking a new police chief for the university. The interim police chief is in agreement with the citizens police academy, but if everything goes according to plan, we are doing interviews for the new police chief now and will have a new permanent chief by the next semester,” said Woodward. 

Depending on the Chancellor’s COVID-19 plan for the spring semester, the academy is at a standstill until the spring semester plan is released.

For more updates about SGA, follow their Instagram and Twitter @ncatsga.