GW launches online feedback portal

Students and community members can now submit their complaints or praise for the University’s security personnel and policies directly to GW’s top safety leader through an online form.

The form that went live Jan. 6 serves as a gateway for individuals to lodge formal feedback straight to Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell, a move designed to increase communication with leadership on public concerns.

“One of the things I wanted to achieve out of the website was making sure I didn’t have one-way communication, that there was ability for people to communicate with me, which is the reason I started my Twitter and the reason for this [form] as well,” he said. “I think it’s very important that people have a way to give us information as well.”

The form includes the University Police Department, the Office of Emergency Management and the Office of Health and Safety – divisions that fall under the umbrella of Darnell’s Office of Safety and Security.

He estimated that his office previously received about one comment monthly without a formal system for filing the notes.

“I don’t know if I will get an increase in complaints or commendations, but I thought it was important to provide the GW community with an efficient and hopefully easy process in which to communicate directly to me their concerns, suggestions or ideas for maintaining our safety and security, or improving the safety and security services my office provides,” Darnell said.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said comments would help keep Darnell’s office in the loop about concerns. Based on the scope of each comment, his office would either handle the complaint or commendation, or reroute it to the appropriate department.

One UPD officer, who asked to remain anonymous because officers are not authorized to speak to the media, said he thinks the new form would help solicit more feedback from students.

“It makes it seem like everyone’s got a hand in what goes on,” he said. “If an officer is acting out, it should be reported.”

The form can be found at www.gwu.edu/safety, and individuals may submit comments anonymously. Commenters can choose to designate whether they are students, staff, faculty, parents, neighbors or other.

The headline for this article was updated on Jan. 18, 2011 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported in a headline that UPD launched the online feedback portal. In fact, the Office of Safety and Security created the online feedback website.

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