BSA, police working toward  solutions to noise complaints in the atrium


BSA (Regente Myers)

Members of BSA and the Police Department pose for a picture after the March 1 meeting

Vandy Manyeh, News Editor

The College of DuPage Police Department and the Black Student Alliance (BSA) are working towards finding a solution to complaints about noise resulting in campus police calls to the atrium.

During a meeting between members of the alliance and campus police on March 1, students said they wanted to create a better relationship with police. Police Chief Joseph Mullin agreed. His department met with students for the second time on March 8.

“It’s very important that we have a good relationship with students on campus,” Mullin said, at the initial meeting. “There is not a police officer on our force that says I want to go out there and tell people to keep quiet. We would much rather be making sure you’re safe.”

Mullin did not respond to multiple interview requests for this article. However, he co-authored a letter to the editor of the Courier that expresses the intention to find permanent solutions for a space that doesn’t have a clear purpose or rules for its use.

The SSC atrium, outside of Starbucks, hosts Campus Central, a one-stop shop where students and community members receive help from knowledgeable staff. On both sides of the atrium are offices for key departments under Student Affairs. But, a large number of tables and chairs are set up for students; many use it as a space to socialize. Campus police had a series of interactions with students in the atrium a few weeks ago, in response to noise complaints, that left some members of the Black Student Alliance feeling like they were not treated with proper respect.  

In response, the alliance hosted a conversation with campus police about the atrium to find a way to make the space a comfortable area for all users.

“We met about the atrium, and in this meeting, we were able to speak our opinions and talk about how we felt about the situation and came up with positive solutions,” said Taranese Lewis, a member of the BSA.

As a cultural and ethnic club on campus, the group sees the opportunity to engage the police department and other stakeholders as a way BSA members can impact change. The meeting also placed an emphasis on better communication and interaction between the students and the police department.

“The police department wants us to work in a joint effort to find out what the atrium should be used for and ways to work together as a club,” said DeWayne Holloway, another member of the BSA.

From his perspective, BSA Adviser David Swope believes the students’ engagement with the police department was the start of a healthy conversation that seeks to get the college administration and other policymakers to set some expectations about the atrium. Swope said students see the atrium used for large events, some including bands, and are confused when noise complaints arise from group conversations that have a much lower noise volume in comparison.

“This is not about black people and police,” Swope said. “Faculty, staff and students are trying to figure out how to make the atrium a fair space for its users. You have employees who use the space, and we are trying to figure out how to have a respectful atmosphere.”

The next step of the conversation will bring in faculty, staff and students to share their opinions about ways the atrium can work for everyone. He also said ongoing efforts to celebrate diversity on campus and educate students, faculty and staff about other cultures will help improve communication for all future interactions.

“I see a lot of positive things coming from these future exchanges,” added Swope. “This is all about working towards a fair solution for everyone who uses the space.”