Exponent Explains: Student security

Students spending time wandering around campus after dark have likely seen some of their fellow students in yellow reflective vests patrolling the area. Perhaps they were escorting a student back to their dorm room, answering a question about campus, or checking to make sure buildings are locked and secured. These vest-clad students are members of the Student Security Team (SST), a University Police Department (UPD) program that employs students on campus to be an extra set of eyes for the police force and to aid in keeping campus safe.

Members of the security team are responsible for reporting suspicious activity on campus and escorting students, but do not engage suspicious persons themselves. “[Student Security] is there strictly to observe and report to the police department,” Brit Brupbacher, the head of SST and an officer at UPD, said in an interview. He cited the benefits of SST, having students report criminal or suspicious activity can help deter crime and protect the students of MSU. “Student security is there to help us, and be our eyes and ears,” Brupbacher said. Student Security members also help students by providing safety escorts around campus for those who feel threatened.

In addition to safety escorts and reporting suspicious activities, the SST is responsible for maintaining security in the buildings of MSU by keeping them secured during evening hours. This ranges from simply checking that academics buildings, which are closed at night, are locked, to walking through open buildings, keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior.

Student Security members must be upstanding students at MSU; those who are unable to pass a criminal background check, or those with sub-par grades (less than a 2.0 grade point average) will not be considered for employment. Members of the team must be professional and mature, as they often deal with the public, sometimes having to avoid confrontation with dangerous persons. Other important skills of security team members are quality verbal and written communication skills, a discretionary manner, and courteousness when dealing with students, the police department and the general public.

It is important that members of the SST still make education their top priority. “It is a student position, so we want to make sure that their studies come first and foremost,” Brupbacher said. In order to assure that members of the team do not lend themselves entirely to student security in lieu of academics, the SST works on a six-evening-a-week schedule, having Sunday to rest and study.

In addition to helping the police investigate crime, SST helps students on campus. It is not uncommon to see a member of the team chatting with a student, providing information if that student has any questions. From keeping buildings secure, to giving directions around campus, to walking a vulnerable person back to safety, the SST is here to help.