Police chief addresses Senate

UNA police Chief Bob Pastula met with SGA Senate members during their regular meeting Oct. 18. 

Pastula, who was invited to speak at the meeting by Senator Christian Bayens, addressed safety and security concerns and participated in a Q-and-A style conversation with senators. 

Pastula said crime rates at UNA are down by almost 70 percent compared to recent years, despite recent crimes on campus.

“I think we have one of the safest universities out there,” Pastula said. “It’s definitely one of the safest in the Southeast region.”

Pastula said he feels like local news media outlets sensationalized the crimes.

“The Flor-Ala acted like we were trying to cover something up or lie to people by making it a point to call it rape instead of sexual assault,” Pastula said. “There’s not a difference. But we’re not trying to hide anything. I only have to federally report the rape as a sexual assault. It’s just a lot of hype that the media brought about that is unwarranted for our campus.”

Pastula told members of SGA he hopes to have cameras installed all across campus within the next one to two years.

“There haven’t been any major obstacles to installing these cameras, and I don’t think there will be,” Pastula said. “It just took time to find someone to contract with, and we’re working on funding.”

Pastula said it is going to cost approximately $350,000 for the cameras, as well as the cost of installation.

Pastula said SGA members can contribute to campus safety by promoting current campus initiatives, such as the free Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) course offered by the university police department. 

“And if SGA ever wants to partner with the police department to do something, just let me know,” Pastula said. “We’ll find the money for it.”

In other business, Treasurer Laura Giles introduced a letter-mailing campaign to take place over the next two to three weeks, in which SGA members will ask for donations to their endowed scholarship fund. 

Senator Julia Wimberly, who recently started a petition to have World of Wings removed from the Student Recreation Center, also spoke at the meeting and senate members took an informal vote to support her as she continues her petition.

President Will Riley said that while he feels like the petition is moving in the right direction, members should not get ahead of themselves, as the process could take longer than expected.

“We’re taking some great steps in the right direction,” Riley said. “But I would say this could take up to three years, if not more, before it’s completely out of the SRC and something else is there.”

Resolution 12-18, which would split commencement into two separate ceremonies, was introduced by Senate Pro-Tempore William Nash. There was little discussion, but members will be taking a formal vote on the resolution at the Oct. 25 meeting.

Members also informally voted to continue pursuing the mobile feedback station idea, which would allow for a station with used or new iPods for polling the student body on certain issues and getting feedback, with a vote of 10-8.