Public Safety hiring communications position

The new role’s objectives is to improve digital messaging and engagement with students.

The Director of Communications’ main responsibilities will be to create educational messaging for students that promotes safety on and near campus. | CARA KISHTER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University’s Public Safety Department is hiring a director of communications to enhance social media and online messaging around campus safety, said Jennifer Griffin, vice president for public safety.

The new role will be filled before the next semester. Griffin hopes to have the current posting closed in the next three weeks, at which point virtual, and eventually in person, interviews will take place.

Public Safety’s hope is that the new position will allow for increased messaging through social media and on their website, including a media webpage that provides updates on campus safety.

The position, which was originally posted earlier this year, was closed in the wake of the fatal shooting of Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald on Feb. 18 and reopened with new language emphasizing the use of social media and relationships with news outlets, Griffin said.

The hire’s main responsibility will be to create educational messaging for students, promoting safety on and near campus. For example, Griffin and her team are currently working on medical amnesty education after a spike in alcohol-related incidents around campus.

“We want to make sure that students know, you’ll not be in trouble if you bring a friend or call us because a friend has had too much alcohol even if they’re underage,” Griffin said.

The new hire will also collaborate with Temple University’s Strategic Marketing and Communications team, but will work primarily for Public Safety and emergency management messaging, Griffin said. The position will also be the primary news media contact regarding safety at the university and will aim to ensure accurate reporting, according to the job posting.

The reopening of the posting comes as Temple has dealt with a semester of communication concerns surrounding campus safety. Social media accounts like Keep Us Safe TU, a student-run group that posts about campus safety issues, have also gained popularity among students.

Colleen Ivkovich, a senior architecture major, thinks that there needs to be a lot more communication from the university around safety, but that those efforts need to be backed up by action and better messaging about what Public Safety is implementing. 

“Especially because I have a cousin who is a freshman so she’s gonna be here for a while, so I think kind of acknowledgement, and actual proof that they’re trying to fix or do something, at least in their messaging, I think that would make me feel a lot more comfortable,” Ivkovich said.

Nate Weinberg, a sophomore public relations major, who manages social media and press for KUSTU, thinks that communication and transparency around resources available to students is a necessity. 

“I’m curious to see who it is,” Weinberg said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be an inside hire or an outside hire, but whoever it is, they will be an asset to the department and the communication from the university since safety is our top issue and you have to be communicating about safety issues.”

Weinberg met with Griffin, Director for Emergency Management Nicola Mammes, and Deputy Director of Operations Denise Wilhelm on April 27 to discuss safety communication, improvements to the TU Alert system and student feedback. KUSTU hopes to be involved in ongoing efforts to gain feedback from students, Weinberg said.

The group hopes for ongoing discussions between students and Public Safety, but Weinberg thinks Griffin and KUSTU ended the semester in a good spot.

The job requirements for the new position include a bachelor’s degree in communications, as well as a minimum of seven years of experience, or a combination of education and experience. The posting also requires skills in public safety and emergency management. Hires will also need to be well-versed in social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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