Student Senate Report 2/8/2023

Illustration by: Maddie Bataille | Photo Editor

This week from the Student Senate: steering wheel locks for car owners on campus, new developments in the ongoing Narragansett three-person housing ordinance and new security camera coverage.

The University of Rhode Island Chief of Police Michael Jagoda spoke to the Student Senate stressing the Police Department’s initiatives to give steering wheel locks to Hyundai and Kia owners, purchase body cameras for officers, expand state-of-the-art cameras throughout campus and expand Safe Ride initiatives. 

In addition, the URI Police Department is providing steering wheel locks to Hyundai and Kia owners following a slew of thefts due to vulnerabilities in their ignition systems. The locks can be obtained at the Transportation and Parking office located at 44 Lower College Road.

Following concerns about security camera coverage on campus, particularly at night, the Police Department is undergoing a project to expand camera coverage on campus and modernize the cameras being used.

 “I’ve done a complete review of our camera system and some of it, especially the analog cameras, so we are now working on a big upgrade to our camera system on campus,” Jagoda said. “We’re not where we want to be yet, but we have coverage in key areas, and I’m trying to get full coverage of the parking lots and key areas throughout campus with infrared cameras so that they work during the night.”

Jagoda also announced the implementation of body cameras for officers. 

“I think it’s great for transparency and accountability and will ensure that our officers are out there doing the right thing, being professional and following policies and procedures,” Jagoda said. “It’s a philosophy about community policing and working in partnership to solve problems.”

He also emphasized the success and plans of the Police Department’s Rhody Safe Rides program, a University-led free rideshare service aimed at providing safe transportation for students when public transit is unavailable. According to him, the service gave 2,100 rides last semester. 

“When we were doing Safe Rides with the police, we could only take two students at a

time,” Jagoda said. “Now that we have a full-sized van, we can take multiple people at the same time now.”

Rides can be booked on the Transloc app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play Store.

The Narragansett Town Council plans to reimplement the town’s controversial “three-student ordinance,” a town ordinance that prohibits landlords from renting to over three students.

External Affairs Committee Chair Jose Montoya urged students who rent in Narragansett to register to vote to combat this new initiative from the Town Council.

Overturned by a State Superior Court Judge in November, the ban is championed by the Narragansett Pier Residents’ Association, a coalition of year-round residents frustrated by the influx of students renting off-campus homes following a shortage of dorm space on campus.

“We’re going to organize voter registration and voter information tables to vote because within Narragansett’s population, the student population represents a swing vote in the elections,” Montoya said. “If people start registering and we find out who on the Council are and aren’t pro-student, we can actually threaten the Town Council with them losing their seats.”

The Student Senate will meet next Wednesday, Feb. 15 with a visit from URI’s Faculty Senate President Michael A. Rice.