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Arizona universities establish task force

(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)

Arizona universities are upping their efforts to stop crime on and around their campuses.

The university presidents along with the Board of Regents are establishing a tri-university task force to look at student safety.

[Related: 2 AZ frats make Rolling Stone list of most out-of-control in America]

Board of Regents President Eileen Klein said the task force will work with community and university leaders, law enforcement and student organizations.

Klein said safety will be an additional focus of the board's next meeting September 26th in Flagstaff. She tells CBS 5 News the task force will likely make recommendations to the Regents next spring.

Regents are appointed by the Governor to oversee the operations of the state's three public universities, Arizona State, Arizona and Northern Arizona.

Klein says ASU administrators have a variety of tools at their disposal.

"ASU has a lot of programs in place and a lot of people in place to manage those relationships," said Klein.

Several students we spoke to believe ASU's reputation is not a true reflection of the school.

"I don't think it's as bad as people make it out to be," said junior Denny Nguyn.

"It's all about the situations you put yourself in. You know? They can happen anywhere," said freshman Sara Turner.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputies are assisting the Tempe Police Department in its crackdown on drunken behavior and violence.

Klein believes that isn't the only component of solving the problem.

"The law enforcement angle is an incredibly important one but its not the only way we try to reach students and have healthy behavior," said Klein.

Earlier this month, three Arizona State University fraternity brothers were arrested in connection with a Labor Day fight that left a member of another ASU fraternity savagely beaten. [Related: Tempe PD: 3 arrested in savage beating in apartment elevator]

Klein released the following statement on Friday:

"With students back to school at our public universities, I would like to emphasize that as the governing body of Arizona's public university system, the Arizona Board of Regents takes very seriously the importance of a safe environment in which all students can succeed academically. The Board is concerned about the safety of our students both on and off campus and is committed to their well-being.

"A student safety discussion is planned for the Board's upcoming meeting on September 26 in Flagstaff. The Board will hear a summary of the key activities, campaigns and community outreach programs that each of our universities conducts in order to maintain lawful, healthy and orderly behavior both on campus and in the communities close to campus in which many of our students reside. Recently, the Board wrote a letter to leadership of national Greek organizations to enlist their input on issues of student safety. At the meeting, the Board will hear a summary of the many positive responses we received.

"The university presidents and I also intend to establish a tri-university task force to examine issues related to student safety, and to work with various community and university leaders, law enforcement, students and student organizations to increase coordination and identify and promote best practices.

"It is an honor to be a student at our fine universities - and our students are expected to know and live up to what is required of them as set forth in the ABOR student code of conduct, both on campus and as representatives of our universities in our communities."

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