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UMass to Hire Outside Consultant to Review Dorm Safety

AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) – UMass is moving to hire an outside consultant to review dorm safety after an alleged rape in October.

In a statement, UMass Police Chief John Horvath says the move is part of a comprehensive review of the campus’ residence hall security program and the measures in place at the University’s 45 dorms.

Back in October, a female student alleges that she was raped by four Pittsfield men in her on-campus dorm room.

Those four men – Emmanuel Bile, Justin King, Adam Liccardi, and Caleb Womack – are not students of the University students and are all awaiting trial.

“UMass Amherst has a longstanding commitment to student safety, and this review will identify the strengths and any shortcomings of our current system while making recommendations based on best practices in the field. An independent set of eyes will serve us well,” says Horvath.

Horvath adds that he hopes to have finalists for the consultant role selected by the first week of January, with their work taking place during the Spring 2013 semester.

Whomever is hired as the consultant, Horvath notes, will:

  • Collaborate with a University working group
  • Outline strengths and areas that need improvement in residence halls, compared to best practices
  • Conduct a review of existing policies, procedures and practices, with a special look at guest registration
  • Review physical layouts of residence halls for possible security improvements
  • Look at electronic access systems

The consultant will also discuss how the residential security program works with residence life and UMass Police, as well as look into education and communication programs amongst a cross-section of campus departments.

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