Coming off of a Student Government Association (SGA) Town Hall on Feb. 13 and a student protest on March 1, Longwood University is considering changes to communication policies and increasing security camera coverage, according to Dr. Tim Pierson, vice president of student affairs.
“(We) would start right away in some of that is evaluating a different communication in terms of not just the eminent danger,” Pierson said.
On Jan. 27 an individual, later identified as Malcolm Deon Leviege, was reported knocking on doors in Longwood Village with a gun. The Longwood University Police Department (LUPD) was called, but Leviege had fled the scene before their arrival. Per Pierson, the LUPD at the time deemed the incident not be not “imminent danger” to students and no campus alert was issued.
“When we put out a notice, it is (an) imminent danger,” Pierson said. “That means, you know, move right now. So them doing knocking doesn't qualify, not necessarily, and see when by the time the police got there, when they responded the guy was leaving.”
According to Pierson, had Leviege still been on the scene there would have been notification to students, at least to those who were living in the Village.
Pierson also said "the photograph of the person having a gun kind of changes the whole, perception of what the issue was and what it potentially could have been” in reference to the picture a student had taken of the incident.
“Those (changes) would start right away in some of that is evaluating, a different communication in terms of not just the imminent danger,” Pierson said. “That's clear. We'll still continue to do that (regarding imminent danger) in the manner that we have, but there's also probably a greater sensitivity.”
Pierson said Longwood is currently considering what students will receive notification about but didn't describe a specific policy.
In addition to the considerations Longwood is making regarding communication with students, Pierson said there will be security improvements.
“The other thing that, that came out in this, in this discussion and it was the need to equip (the) Longwood Village with a greater infrastructure of security,” Pierson said. “Those being the emergency lights, the Blue Poles that we have and also a video camera system out there too.”
According to Matt McWilliams, assistant vice president for communications, Longwood is in the process of installing security cameras at Longwood Village.
Per McWilliams, Longwood had no cameras or blue light phones in 2013 and now has over 300 security cameras installed and 59 blue light phones with an additional 21 cameras and three blue lights being installed in Longwood Village.
In addition to the increased security and considerations being made regarding communications, President W. Taylor Reveley IV is going to meet with student diversity leaders, according to senior Maria G. Reynoso, one of the protest organizers and the Hispanic Latino Association (HLA) president.
“Tim Pierson reached out to us on behalf of (President) Reveley saying they would like to meet with us to continue talking about these issues,” Reynoso said. “My issue with that was that I had been trying to set up a meeting with Reveley since late January, so that was frustrating but I am happy we are going to meet again.”
Per Reynoso, she and other diversity leaders met with President Reveley in October 2018, but have not been able to schedule a meeting since.
Reynoso said no future protests are planned at this time.
“I can't say for sure about more protests, but if Longwood doesn't step up their game and start to take our voices seriously, I can't imagine another alternative,” Reynoso said.
According to Reynoso they will meet on Monday, March 18 with President Reveley and other campus officials to continue the discussion.
The LUPD declined to comment.
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