Metro State reaches out to students, staff during campus listening sessions

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https://youtu.be/cBh_o4zpdxAMetro State’s new Campus Safety and Emergency Management Coordinator Jason Fellows updates students on June 26 about the racially motivated assault that occurred outside of New Main. Fellows, along with other university officials, participated in multiple listening sessions to hear questions and concerns stemming from the June 19 incident.(Brandon General / The Metropolitan)

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On the afternoon of June 26, Interim Dean of Students Maya Sullivan and Chief Diversity Craig Morris lead the first of several student-oriented listening sessions to address the racially motivated assault that occurred on June 19.

Morris explained that these meetings were offered to discuss the incident and provide resources to students in need. Other listening sessions were held later that same day and on July 2 at the Midway campus.

The Inter Faculty Organization, a body representing faculty at Minnesota State’s seven universities, also conducted a town hall-style meeting on July 1 to discuss the assault. That event was attended by close to 60 individuals, mostly staff and faculty, according to Morris.

Members of various student and staff support services were in attendance to introduce themselves and offer their assistance.

KSTP news identified the June 19 assault victim as Metro State employee Shamimul Alam. He was attacked on the exterior stairwell outside of the New Main building. In response to this incident, university officials sent an email to students and staff on June 24 to invite them to these listening sessions.

Jason Fellows, Metro State’s new Campus Safety and Emergency Coordinator, introduced himself and provided updated information regarding the assault. Fellows indicated that St. Paul police issued a “pick up and hold” warrant for a suspect who is not associated with Metropolitan State University. The identity of that suspect was not released, however, as he had not yet been detained by police and was considered a flight risk (see Update).

At the July 2 listening session, Fellows added that the suspect was known to St. Paul police from a previous encounter unrelated to Metropolitan State University. Using footage from that prior incident, police were able to present Alam with the suspect’s image along with several others in photo lineup. Alam identified the suspect as his assailant.

Fellows indicated that an in-depth review of the university’s safety and security procedures and equipment will be conducted before fall semester.

In response to a question from an attendee on June 26, Fellows said the effectiveness and parameters of the security cameras will also be assessed to determine why the camera on the exterior stairwell of New Main did not record the assault.

Fellows offered his support and encouraged community members to voice any questions or concerns. He assured attendees that increased security patrols are still occuring on campus.

Morris concluded the June 26 session by reiterating Metropolitan State University’s commitment to making campus a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for students.

“We do not tolerate this behavior. We won’t stand for this. This was a disgusting and cowardly assault,” Morris said.

Update:
On July 5, Chief Finance Officer Tracy Hatch sent an email to students indicating that the suspect in the June 19 attack was apprehended by St. Paul police on July 4. He is identified as Steven Parker, a 59-year old white male. The investigation is ongoing, and The Metropolitan will provide updates as they become available.

Metropolitan State University security escorts:

Saint Paul campus: Visit the security officer station in the main lobby of Founders Hall or the Library. You can also call or text (651)-775-0444 or (651)-774-0715 to request a security escort. Please include your location when making an escort request via call or text.

Minneapolis campus: MCTC’s Public Safety Department provides security escort services anywhere within a one-block radius of the MCTC main campus, whenever the campus is open. You can call or text (612)-659-6910 for non-emergency or (612)-659-6900 for an emergency and an officer will meet you.

Midway campus: A safety office is available during scheduled afternoon and evening classes. To request a security escort, call or text (651)-775-6122.

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