Starting May 1, Phil Zerzan, chief of the Campus Public Safety Office, will begin hosting a coffee hour where students and members of the Portland State community can come discuss any questions or concerns they might have regarding campus safety.
Zerzan said the only requirement is for students to show up with their coffee.
“I enjoy interacting with the PSU community, but usually it’s in the form of presentations—at parent orientations, for example,” he said. “Outreach is a really important part of police work.”
The decision to start the coffee hour was partly because of recommendations to the report compiled by the Task Force on Campus Safety, Zerzan said.
“One of the recommendations made was for CPSO to reach out in new ways to the campus community,” he said. “By starting these sessions, we are responding to that recommendation.”
In the report, the TFCS said, “Campus Public Safety leadership should provide safety presentations and other education at events such as staff onboarding meetings, student orientation sessions, and administrative briefings. These presentations will help to mobilize the campus community in support of the safety awareness that is an essential element of any safety effort.
“Campus safety resources cannot address concerns unless they know about them; helping the community to know where to report and receive assistance is a critical mission.”
Similar sessions have been held at other universities in the country with some success, Zerzan said.
“This is really a chance for students to be able to talk to me about the things they’re passionate about, the things they care about on campus,” he said. “This is also an opportunity for students to become engaged and be involved in the discussion about campus safety.”
Zerzan wants to make sure that part of the discussion is about educating the PSU community as to what CPSO and its officers actually do.
“I’m proud of the work our officers do, and most of it goes unnoticed,” he said. “These coffee hours will also provide the opportunity to talk about what we actually do as the Campus Public Safety Office, and how what we do contributes to student success at Portland State.”
The coffee hour will be from 10–11 a.m. and will be held in Parkway North in Smith Memorial Student Union every other Thursday.