Gophers Reunite with the Law


Thomas Olenchek, Contributor

Safety has always been a concern on the University of Minnesota campus. Students walking home from classes and bars at the night have reasonable concerns about their safety. In May of 2020, the University stopped contracting with the Minneapolis Police Department following the George Floyd incident. This later meant that police presence would no longer be as prominent at sporting events, concerts, ceremonies, and other large events on campus.

On August 24th, Joan Gabel released an announcement that the University of Minnesota will once again start taking steps towards contracting with the police department. The university’s goal is to return a heavier law enforcement presence to campus in order to ensure a safer area for students to learn and flourish in.

The university’s announcement stated, “With today’s announcement, the University will: Begin using MPD specialty services again, as needed. These needs occur intermittently and MPD, along with other regional emergency response agencies, regularly support the University’s needs, and vice-versa. Contract with off-duty MPD officers to provide security services during Gopher Football home games for the 2022 season, starting on Sept. 1.”

Students seem hopeful that the new contract will increase the presence of police on and around campus. One student, Jack Pokora, stated “I believe that with the loss of police presence there was an increase in muggings and carjackings on campus. I am hopeful that the new contract will make the campus safer and we all will feel more comfortable.”

The university realized that the campus could be safer for students and are taking more initiative to solve the problem. One of the primary areas of concern is Dinkytown. A large number of muggings and car jackings tend to occur in this area. Joan Gabel announced a new safety committee this summer and their prioritizing of the Dinkytown area. One of the notable improvements they have done to Dinkytown is adding cameras outside the Kollege Klub and Frank & Andrea on 13th Avenue. The committee also states that they are, “Working with the City of Minneapolis to add two Blue Light Kiosks in the Dinkytown Area,” and  “Awaiting a decision on our submitted budget request to the City of Minneapolis for 170 additional streetlights for the entire Marcy Holmes/Dinkytown area. This $2.83 million request has to be approved via the city’s budget process.” Dinkytown is a prime location for housing for many of the students enrolled in the University. Dinky is also home to many of the beloved restaurants and bars that the students enjoy. University of Minnesota students do not want to feel frightened when walking to and from their favorite spots in Dinky.

Another relatively new safety feature recommended by the University is the Rave Guardian app. For people who download the app “you may request a virtual escort by selecting the ‘Virtual Escort’ button, entering the location where you’re going and the time it will take to get to your destination. You can invite friends and family to be your “Social Guardian,” so they can monitor you along the way. When you arrive at your destination, you simply deactivate your timer in the app. If you don’t arrive in the estimated time and your time expires, your selected guardians and Public Safety will be alerted. Your location is visible to the Social Guardians selected to monitor your escort, but it is only visible to Public Safety staff if your escort timer expires before you deactivate it. If your timer expires, Public Safety will dispatch someone to check your welfare.” The students of Minnesota want to feel safe on their campus and are hopeful that the new measures will make a difference.