Despite the recent negative portrayal of West Chester University in articles featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Daily Local regarding incorrect reports on the campus’ crime rates, the University’s main spokesperson feels it won’t have a negative effect on future applicants.”Students and parents will see how safe it is when they set foot on campus,” said West Chester University’s Director of Public Relations and Marketing, Stephen Bell. He added that visitors will see how great the surrounding town is and how beautiful the campus is. Bell himself had a similar outsider’s view of WCU just a little over 11 weeks ago.
“It’s a very good school, [the] most affordable game in town,” said Bell, “and it’s known for several top notch academic programs.” He elaborated on what he knew before becoming part of the faculty in mid-November.
“West Chester has a lot going for it.” said Bell. He also talked about the great Teacher Education programs, Physical Education programs, and its marvelous School of Music.
“Since I’ve been here I’ve found more great programs such as the Business College, College of Arts and Sciences,” said Bell.
“It’s been terrific, but very brief,” said Bell regarding his time here at WCU and his recent resignation as of Dec. 24, 2005. “It all happened very quickly.” Bell will be returning to his former job as Director of Marketing and Communications at Neumann College as of Jan. 31, 2006.
He explained that he feels WCU has a strong Public Relations Department and that the only challenge the person who will be filling his shoes will have will just be to let people know more of the good programs the University has to offer.
“Make sure the people know about everything,” said Bell. These were some of his goals when arriving to WCU and he felt they were very feasible. He then explained that within his first two weeks he met with all the Deans of the colleges and they were very helpful and more than willing to work with his ideas.
In regards to the recent situation involving the unreported crime rates, he was very happy to see how quickly the University acted considering the large size of the school.
“The important thing is that the University admitted it was wrong and fixed the problem immediately,” said Bell. He explained that Public Safety is already fixing the problem and the new system is already in place.
Bell said he is also glad to hear that the students and faculty are discussing the issue because communication is very important.
“West Chester is such a safe campus, there’s no reason to avoid the issue,” said Bell. He also feels that the Office of Public Relations and Marketing will also need to communicate better with students. “Campus safety is such a big issue and it is very important to maintain communication.