SGA: Flex to Feed funds local food shelf; DPS discusses crime

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SGA: Flex to Feed funds local food shelf; DPS discusses crime

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The SLU Student Government Association met on Wednesday, Dec. 2, for their weekly senate meeting, where the opening conversation focused on serving the Jesuit mission and student safety on the perimeters of campus.

Aramark—the company in charge of SLU’s dining services—presented first on the Flex-to-Feed program. Conceived and implemented by SGA in 2012, Flex-to-Feed takes 10 percent of the student’s unused Flex dollars and donates them to help fight hunger in the St. Louis area. The money that is being donated from the 2014/15 academic year totals a sum of $10,743.28.

“We’re excited to be a part of this and happy we can continue the practice,” said Jeffrey Marshall, Aramark’s Resident District Manager. The program was conceived while SLU was still in contract with Chartwells as its dining service. Marshall continued, “We look forward to doing it again next year.”

This year, the donation will be spread across four local non-profit organizations that all work to combat hunger in the St. Louis area. These organizations include Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Louis Area Foodbank, Campus Kitchen and Operation Foodsearch.

“This is a huge demonstration of living out our Jesuit mission and Aramark’s commitment to our mission, as well,” said SGA President Jay Bryant.

Marshall and the Vice President of Student Development, Dr. Kent Porterfield, presented each organization with a check at the meeting.

Porterfield noted his appreciation for the student’s desire to live out the mission, saying: “I’ve worked at institutions where students asked for refunds for themselves, but never a place where students are so generous in the way that you’ve been.”

After the presentation of the donation, Chief Jim Moran, the Director of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, was invited to the floor to present on updates of DPS’ notification policy.

Moran began his presentation by addressing the robbery and attempted robbery that occurred during the evening on Monday, Nov. 16.

“We had the robbers the other day in the alley between Laclede and Forrest Park. The good news in that is that they have been apprehended. One of our students was able to positively identify the persons responsible,” Moran said.

According to the email sent out by DPS later that night, three unknown subjects robbed the student of her purse and keys. She had also been struck in the face, but was not badly injured.

A separate email detailed that approximately five minutes later, these suspects approached another student while she was walking down the alley, en route to The Standard apartment building. They demanded money, but the student told them that she did not have any, and the suspects fled on foot once the student made it to a well-lit area.

Moran admitted that errors were made in DPS’ response to these robberies due to the dispatcher’s belief that these separate incidents were actually the same. And while officers were able to get to one of the scenes rather quickly, their response to the second incident was delayed.

In light of these robberies and DPS’ response, some SGA senators had questions and proposals for Moran about how to improve the safety and notification procedures.

Senator Tanya Mukherji was the first to speak, and asked Moran about the possibility of installing one of the ‘blue light’ emergency phones in the alleyway behind The Standard and the University Lofts. She also proposed creating a gate that would connect the Loyola parking lot to the alleyway in order to provide a shorter and more direct route for students.

In response, Moran was doubtful of such implementations, saying: “We have talked about both of those and I don’t know if we could do either one of those.”

Since the alleyway is the city’s property and they have little control over the Standard’s safety procedure, Moran was doubtful that they could put a blue light in the alley or create a doorway from the parking lot.

Mukherji also brought up a separate incident that occurred at the McDonalds on Lindell, which DPS did not report on but Moran confirmed.

According to Moran, around 3:00 a.m. one morning, a student was walking across the parking lot of the McDonalds on Lindell when two individuals approached him and demanded his money. The student responded that he didn’t have any so the subjects pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the shoulder.

Moran spoke about his reluctance to notify students of incidents that occur off campus, saying: “When we start expanding beyond the campus, the question becomes how far do we expand? I don’t want to get to a point where DPS send you a message and you look at it and say it’s just another one of those. I don’t want to get to the [point] where you see that message and you don’t pay attention.”

However, Moran stated that DPS is trying to improve the notification system through a partnership with SLU’s Marketing and Communication department. DPS will begin to use Twitter and social media to get information out to the students faster.