Former Mayor Menino discusses position at BU, battling cancer

After 21 years in office, former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino accepted a position at Boston University in November 2013 with the Initiative on Cities, a project created to bring political leaders together with academics in the hope of addressing urban issues. The former mayor, who joined the BU community in February, said his semester is off to a strong start.

Almost eight months after he began his role as co-director of the IoC, Menino said in a phone call Monday that he is enjoying spending time with students and faculty. Though diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer in March, the longtime urban leader said he is feeling good.

Stephanie Pagones: How is the beginning of your semester?

Thomas Menino: “It’s good so far. No one is throwing eggs or protesting me yet.”

SP: Are you enjoying your time here?

TM: “There are good people here, and I’ve been working with all of the different faculty. You have a great president here, who really is committed to the education of the students, and at what better academic climate than Boston University?”

SP: What is your favorite part of being on BU’s campus and how has it been so far?

TM: “Campus is very exciting for me. Meeting all these students who have got great potential and learning from them and also helping them with some of the issues that they might be involved in … I really enjoy that part of it, helping the students. These four years are the most important years of their lives as far as where they’re going to go the rest of their lives. I give my advice and consent, and I disagree at times with them, but I really have good conversation with them. I have a lot of good conversations.”

SP: You held a Pizza and Politics talk on Sept. 17. Is that something that you’d like to do more of?

TM: “I really enjoyed that because I got a good sense of what the students are thinking about and how you have to work with them and what you can learn from them. Sometimes, we’re in our own little worlds, and when you open up your eyes to all these students from diverse backgrounds, educations that are very different, different nationalities, you learn a lot from them. It’s more or less a holistic approach to things. You never know what questions they’re going to ask you, which I like the best.”

SP: How are you feeling, and how are you doing now that your career is not as consuming as being the mayor of Boston?

TM: “I feel good. I’m battling cancer, but I feel really good. It’s not holding me back. I come to the office every day, and I do my work. I just don’t do 18-hour days working anymore. I do six, seven or eight hour workdays. Also, I have a book coming out in October. The name of it is “Mayor for a New America.” It’s about my 20 years of mayor of the City of Boston. It’s a good story, and I hope people will appreciate it. It comes out Oct. 14.”

SP: Please briefly explain your role at the IoC.

TM: “At the Initiative on Cities, what we’re trying to do is help mayors do a better job running their cities. We’ve had a couple conferences already this year. I first got here on the marathon bombing, and [we work with] NIH [National Institutes of Health] grants, money that comes into the city for scientific research to help combat some of these diseases we have in our world. We had the mayor of Rome [Ignazio Marino] in one day. Last week, we had Arne Duncan, who is the [United States] Secretary of Education. We are also working with Northeastern [University]. We have a mutual agreement working on early childhood programs, which is something I’m very interested in because these kids need a good start before they get into school. You just can’t put them in a classroom and say, ‘Now you’re going to learn.’ How do you nurture them to get to pre-kindergarten?”

SP: What inspired you to become a part of the BU community at the IoC?

TM: “I always worked with Boston University in my job as mayor. For 20 years, I saw how engaged they were with the city of Boston itself. They gave a lot back to the city. I said, ‘This is where I want to be – a university that understands urban issues and helps out the urban areas.’ There’s the School of Public Health…you’ve got some great people over there, and the School of Management…all those schools are fine schools. I’ve worked with them in the past, and I want to work with them in the future. BU is there in their thought process. They come up with solutions to some of the problems we have in cities throughout the world.”

SP: What have you brought from your career as mayor to your new position at the IoC?

TM: “I have some experience, a little know-how, [on] how to deal with some of these issues, and I can reach out to people who want to help us with this … I came to BU to help them educate and to work with them on some of the difficult issues of today. It’s a different world today than it was five years ago, [or] a year ago. It’s always changing. How do you continue to change, and how do you bring people in to help you? You can’t do any job alone. You have to reach out to people and have them give you advice and make you do a better job on your own.”

SP: What are your future plans and what do you hope to accomplish at the IoC, as well as while you are here at BU?

TM: “My future plans are right here, at the Initiative on Cities trying to make better cities around the world. That’s my goal: to try to help some cities. Being a former mayor, I dealt with very complex issues, from running the schools, to police department, fire department, how you balance a budget … those are big issues that a lot of cities run into problems with. I want to help them, because when I was mayor, the City of Boston was able to do a very fine job managing finances, and I want to try to help mayors do the same thing.”

<em>This article was originally published in The Daily Free Press.</em>


BU, Boston crisis centers address sexual assault concerns during “red zone”

BU, Boston crisis centers address sexual assault concerns during “red zone”

After a night of celebrating with friends, Sarah Brattain, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences knew she had too much to drink and asked a friend to walk her home. She went straight to bed and assumed she was safe, but she woke up to find an unwelcome guest in her room.

“I woke up to one of my friends in my bed. I had not seen him that night at all. His hands were in my pants, and he was touching me,” she said. “I was panicking because the last thing I remembered was walking home, making the conscience decision to come home because I knew that I had had too much to drink.”

The man in her bed was no stranger to Brattain. The pair had been friends for almost four years. He always got too close, she said, but he seemed harmless. While she always had her guard up, she never expected things to escalate the way they did.

“I went to the hospital the next day to get the rape kit done because I didn’t know what had happened,” she said. “He basically shrugged it off and said ‘I don’t know, I was drunk, too.’ He told me that he couldn’t sleep, and I looked really peaceful sleeping and so he just crawled in my bed when I was sleeping.”

Brattain’s story is not uncommon. Since she opened up about the incident, she has been contacted by almost 60 people, between the ages of 14 and 62 , who have experienced attempted or completed sexual assault.

At the beginning of each academic year, there is a heightened risk of sexual assault on college campuses, leading to the first six weeks of school being termed the “red zone.”

“It [the red zone] is often identified as the first six weeks of the semester. There are several time frames — four weeks, six weeks, two months — that have been looked at to attempt to identify when predators are more active and first-year students are more at risk of being sexually assaulted,” said Maureen Mahoney, director of Boston University’s Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center, in an email. “These [time frames] are positive in terms of bringing awareness to campuses. But predatory behavior doesn’t have an expiration date.”

Tuesday marked the third week of “BU’s red zone.” All students should be cognizant of this high-risk period as they get settled into college life, Mahoney said.

“We think it is important to recognize that most students are assaulted by someone they know — a partner, a classmate, a friend or acquaintance, a co-worker, someone they’ve met at a party or social function,” she said.

SARP, a service established by BU to provide advocacy and assistance to students who have experienced trauma, opened in 2012 after there were several allegations of sexual assault from members of the BU men’s hockey team, which led to the arrest of two of their players.

In May, BU was placed on the U.S. Department of Education’s list of 55 colleges and schools under Title IX investigation for the alleged mishandling of a complaint that was filed October 2013.

“Since that time, the DOE has said there are Title IX complaints at additional schools, but also made clear that a complaint [or] investigation is not evidence of a violation,” said BU spokesman Colin Riley in an email.

About 1 in 5 women, or 1 in 71 men, reported being sexually assaulted in the United States in 2012, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nineteen percent of female college students have experienced sexual assaults or attempts, and a majority of these crimes are committed by friends or acquaintances, the CDC reports.

Gayle Jaffe, community engagement manager of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, said there are not only resources on college campuses, but also organizations in the city of Boston to help those who have been assaulted and educate others in order to prevent sexual attacks.

“BARCC’s mission is really to support survivors of sexual assault and work to end sexual violence through healing actions and social change,” she said. “We’ve been partnering much more with campuses. The more we get involved with campuses and with student groups, the more that we are able to make people more aware of what kinds of services and resources we have to offer.”

Mahoney said it is important for students to be involved in the prevention process. SARP’s primary prevention program, “Step Up. Step In. BU.,” focuses on teaching students how to identify and intervene safely in certain high-risk situations.

Students often get carried away when they first come to college, Jaffe said, and are more vulnerable because they are in social situations they might not have experienced before.

“For many students, they are away from home for the first time. They don’t have parental involvement, so they’re out there. They’re on campus. They’re in a really new environment,” she said. “There’s a lot of alcohol that’s generally available, and it’s easier to have access to that alcohol. So many things are so new and students are really transitioning to this different life period.”

Irresponsible decisions can lead to students being in less safe situations, Jaffe said, such as walking home alone late at night, walking alone to a party and excessive alcohol consumption, which can lead to perpetrators taking advantage of the situation.

“Bystander intervention and just looking at changed attitudes and behaviors are really going to be the most effective ways of preventing sexual assaults from happening,” she said.

However, some people, much like Brattain, did follow the rules and avoided risky situations, but were unable to avoid sexual assault.

“All of the girls that I know who have been assaulted, they have all followed the rules,” she said. “[It] seems like it’s our job to protect ourselves, but that’s putting responsibility on us, rather than teaching men to respect boundaries. I don’t think following all the rules prevents rape. The biggest issue is just the culture we have where it’s a woman’s job to protect themselves.”

Brattain said her best advice would be to raise awareness about sexual assault and sexual assault prevention because “the more people talk about it, the more people take it seriously.”

“In a perfect world, you would have an escort everywhere, but really in a perfect world you wouldn’t have to worry about doing something as simple as walking home from the library at night.”

Several students said it is important for everyone to be aware of their surroundings and keep in mind their location in a big city.

Diego Davila, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he has not personally witnessed a person being sexually assaulted, but he has heard stories.

“To be honest, the whole college culture as a whole has contributed to the rape culture. When students first come to college, they’re learning to adjust to college’s social norms. If you’re new to being on your own, you’re less likely to know what’s normal and what is okay,” he said. “I don’t think BU does much to handle or even prevent the situation. It doesn’t seem like they do anything to the perpetrator.”

Caitlin O’Malley, a junior in CAS, said even though she has to remain vigilant, resources like SARP are comforting facets of BU.

“There have definitely been moments when I’m walking home late and I get nervous,” she said. “We’re in a city, on a campus where there are people who don’t necessarily go to our school walking down the street.”

Meredith Hauser, a sophomore in the Pardee School of Global Studies, said students’ own awareness is one of the greatest defenses against sexual assault.

“I could see how being in a city could make our school more dangerous, but I think Commonwealth Avenue is safer than other places I’ve been to,” she said. “I don’t really feel uncomfortable anymore, but people definitely need to be aware or their surroundings, especially at night or when they’re alone, which is something that I think people forget.”

Boston Calling cements six upcoming dates at City Hall Plaza

Concertgoers of Boston’s well-known Boston Calling Music Festival can look forward to several more shows, after the City of Boston announced its decision to continue to hold the festival at City Hall Plaza through 2017.

The festival, hosted by Crashline Productions, has been held at City Hall Plaza since its founding in May 2013 and takes place in May and September each year. The City recently announced its decision to keep the concert at the same venue for at least six more festivals through 2017, said Gabrielle Farrell, a spokeswoman for the City of Boston.

“This was a mutual decision made between the City of Boston and Crashline Productions,” she said in an email. “Boston Calling has been a great addition to the art scene in Boston. We have the resources, infrastructure and tourism amenities to host this lively event, and look forward to next year.”

There was a question of whether or not the concert would be held in City Hall Plaza after infrastructure damage was found in a small portion of the venue, Farrell said.

“Prior to Boston Calling in May [2014], work was done on a small portion of City Hall Plaza to stabilize a platform that was installed several years ago,” she said. “The plaza is safe and open to the public and has hosted numerous events this past summer.”

Mike Snow, co-founder of the concert series, said he and co-founder Brian Appel are looking forward to keeping the festival in “the heart of the city” and that he could not imagine holding the music festival anywhere else.

“We have worked together with both the last administration [former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino] and this one [Boston Mayor Martin Walsh] to improve the festival and keep it on the plaza,” Snow said in an email. “The inspiration behind it [Boston Calling] was one part our love of the city and the other a take on the Clash’s ‘London Calling’ album title.”

The rain or shine event was most recently held from Sept. 5 through Sept. 7 and featured more than 20 bands and artists, including Lorde, Nas and The Roots and The National.

Several residents and students said City Hall Plaza is a suitable venue for Boston Calling, but other locations would work just as well.

Melvin McGregor, 23, of Roxbury, said given the festival’s success, changing the location of Boston Calling would be irrational.

“The concert is easy to get to from all areas and from all subway lines. It’s the one place you can get to from anywhere,” he said. “If it’s somewhere grassy, then there are more factors to worry about, like the
weather. Downtown is a lot safer. No one is stupid enough to do anything there.”

Miryana Tamaya, a third-year student in Boston University’s Center for English Language and Orientation Programs, said she would be more likely to attend the concert if it was held in an area densely populated by students.

“Downtown is nice, and students can make it there easily, but it’s a little far. I would like to see the concert near Harvard [University] campus, which is much nicer for concertgoers,” she said.

Natasha Patel, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said the most important factor in choosing Boston Calling’s location is if the artists are content with the venue, more than concertgoers.

“It’s more effective if the artist is happy. If the artist is happy, he or she is going to enjoy playing, and the concert is going to be even better,” she said. “Boston Common would be a great place for a music festival, and it seems like that location makes more sense. I think more people would go, too, and it’s more people-friendly.”

Tech site offers free Internet domains to college students

Students on Boston campuses are eligible to claim free Internet domains, offered to showcase students’ accomplishments and help them build a personal brand with Namecheap for Education, a product of

As of Sept. 8, students can create a free “.me” website – or a “.com” or “.link” site at a discounted price – to develop their online presence, said Namecheap Head of Product Teddy Worcester.

“Internet freedom and privacy is at the core of our culture,” Worcester said in an email. “A domain name is a really important component to building a personal brand. Setting up an email and site on a personal domain goes a really long way in a job search or really any professional endeavor. And best of all, it’s free, so it won’t break the bank.”

Richard Kirkendall founded NameCheap in 2001, Worcester said. Its new service for students came as a result of attending college hackathons, or collaborative programming events, where Kirkendall and his associates first introduced the idea of offering a free URL.

“Last year, we started mentoring students at hackathons all over the U.S. Our free domains were a huge hit at every event,” he said. “We realized that no one is really making it easy for students to get online and setup a website on a personal domain. We were really excited to make this happen.”

Alex Wheeler, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of MakeBU, a hackathon club, said there is no reason for a student not to have a personal site and an online presence.

“College students already have enough expenses as it is, so being able to register a free domain name is epic,” he said in an email. “Every time you choose to spend your money on something, you make a decision to support a certain company, which is actually a big statement. I’d much rather see students supporting a company like Namecheap, which continually shows support for the student hacker community.”

Wheeler has been using Namecheap since January 2014, after meeting the Namecheap team at various hackathons, he said.

“Most of the members of MakeBU do know about Namecheap, but many probably don’t know about Namecheap Education. This is definitely something we need to get the word out about,” he said. “They are huge supporters of the student hacker community. Namecheap has a team at all of the major hackathons, and [they] have no problem setting up student developers with free domain names.”

Dr. Margrit Betke, a computer science professor in CAS, said it is important for students to have an online presence.

“I encourage my graduate and undergraduate students to have a professional webpage through Boston University,” she said in an email.

Several students said having their own Internet domains would be useful to their education, their careers and their social lives.

Jennifer Valentovic, a freshman in CAS, said this new service would be useful for students in today’s technological culture.

“As an English major, the free domain could be useful to post my own work and promote myself to publishing companies,” she said. “It’s important to have an online presence because of the amount that is done online. Even with school, you have to know how to use Blackboard and submit assignments. A lot of the clubs communicate through Facebook and e-mail. Without that presence and knowledge, you can never get ahead.”

Nirmita Doshi, a CAS junior, said this free domain gives students an important opportunity.

“It’s easier for students who want to host their own site but may not have the financial means to do so,” she said. “An online presence is important because whenever you go somewhere for a job interview, the first thing they’ll do is look you up on the Internet and see how you present yourself. Tumblr and blogs don’t come off as professional as having your own domain.”

Miguel Ochoterena, a freshman in the College of General Studies, said students should take advantage of Namecheap’s service.

“It’s cool, convenient and helpful,” he said. “The website seems a lot easier and accessible because people our age don’t want to go to a person or place to find out information on how to build their resumes or have an online presence. There’s a bigger sense of independence.”

Mayor Walsh appoints new Chief of Civic Engagement

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced Wednesday the appointment of Jerome Smith, former director of the Office of Neighborhood Services, as his cabinet-level chief of civic engagement.

Smith, former chief of staff for former City Councilor Michael Ross and Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth), and former liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, started his position Thursday.

“Any time you have engaged residents, you have stronger neighborhoods, and I think that is very important,” Smith said. “The more that I can get information out and get residents engaged in their quality of life issues and how to affect change and how to enhance neighborhoods, the stronger they’re going to be.”

Boston is defined by its neighborhoods, he said, and for that reason, he feels it necessary to engage and connect with residents in neighborhoods throughout the city.

“We have many neighborhoods with many different issues, challenges and needs,” he said. “My job is to reach out to those residents, to empower them to take ownership of their neighborhoods, and to help them walk through city government and get services so that they can take a little pride and ownership in what’s going on.”

Smith, a resident of Boston for 14 years, said he has considered Boston his home since he first moved here, much like the students at the city’s many educational institutions. For that reason, he said, students must be given just as much attention as any other Boston resident.

“Some people just think that students come in and come out, but the reality is, they don’t. They provide a lot to our economy. They work here. They help our businesses grow,” he said. “I want to make sure I engage students all the way down to seniors and make sure that they all understand the services that are available to them.”

All in all, Smith said, his newly appointed position is one that he does not take lightly.

“As the chief of civic engagement, my ability to sit in the cabinet and talk to the chief of information and talk to the chief of housing and chief of economic development and to bring direct resident concerns to them at the cabinet-level is invaluable to the public,” he said. “Hopefully, we can make some changes and be more effective in how we do that.”

Smith joined Walsh’s team in May as director of neighborhood services, according to a Wednesday press release.

“In his role within Neighborhood Services, he has shown great leadership and creative thought in how we approach serving the public,” Walsh said in the release. “We have a great opportunity here to apply our innovation philosophy to the way we engage residents, and I’m excited to execute our shared vision.”

Senate President Therese Murray, who worked closely with Smith when he was her chief of staff, praised him for his work ethic and his habit of exceeding expectations.

“Jerome is known to always go above and beyond the call of duty, and he is an outstanding addition to the Mayor’s team,” she said in an email statement. “He is an intelligent, fair and selfless leader, an effective strategist and one of my most trusted advisors. I have had the great privilege of working with Jerome for seven years, and the people of Boston are lucky to have him on their side.”

Several residents said they had mixed feelings about Walsh’s most recent appointment.

Josian Figueroa, 33, of Dorchester, said the new installation will be beneficial to the community.

“It seems like a really important job to have,” he said. “As a community, we’re electing whoever we’re electing, and it’s easy not to know what they’re doing. We have to know what’s going on, and right now, I don’t think we really do.”

Paulette Rose, 48, of Boston, said she has low expectations for the new chief.

“I don’t think this is going to do anything. They don’t really want to hear our opinions,” she said. “So much money has been taken away from us already. They’ve taken away from unemployment funds, welfare and schools. This is just another way for them to control our money.”

Nick Mirsky, 27, of Brighton, said the people of Boston should not need an in-between in order to be able to know what the government is doing.

“You’d like to imagine that the government wouldn’t need someone whose job it is to be a bridge,” he said. “By its very nature, it suggests that it is needed. It suggests that there is a shortcoming in the government and its main function as an institution and the constituency that it’s supposed to represent.”

Gov. Patrick to take $150,000 trip to Europe

At an estimated cost of $150,000, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is traveling to Europe next week for a five-day trip, that he said will enhance the Commonwealth’s global economy.
In what his team has termed an “Innovative Partnership Mission,” Patrick and 34 members of his staff will visit Denmark, the United Kingdom and France from Sept. 14 to Sept. 19. They plan to meet with government leaders in the hopes of expanding job opportunities and strengthening international ties to Massachusetts.

“In today’s competitive economy, the way we grow jobs is by building partnerships not just locally, but globally,” Patrick said in a Friday press release. “This mission is a tremendous opportunity for us to cultivate new relationships and strengthen existing ones with key global growth centers in Europe to compete for jobs and position Massachusetts as the prime destination for business growth.”

During the trip, Patrick and his team plan to meet with executives from the global offshore wind industry in Copenhagen, Denmark, financial leaders including Her Majesty’s Treasury David Gauke, as well as other United Kingdom officials and speak at the Paris Chamber of Commerce’s and Movement of the Enterprises of France International event, the press release stated. MEDEF is one of the chief employer unions in France.

After his upcoming excursion, Patrick will have visited 16 countries since taking office in 2007, all part of an effort to “grow and compete in a global economy,” the mission’s website states.

“On seven separate missions, Patrick has led coalitions of the Commonwealth’s leading business executives, state economic development officials, government officials and emerging sector leaders on innovation economy development missions to seven different countries,” the website states. “Through these missions, the Patrick Administration has created lasting economic, innovation and educational opportunities for the Commonwealth.”

This is not the first trip Patrick has taken for the Commonwealth as a part of his Innovative Partnership Mission. In March, the governor visited Panama and Mexico.

“The leaders in business and government and venture capitalists of Latin America’s growth centers are eager to collaborate with us because they recognize that Massachusetts is an innovation hub with a disciplined strategy for growth,” Patrick said in a March press release.

At that time, Patrick had already boasted accomplishments including an increase in spending by international visitors, which he said supports Massachusetts jobs, and the expansion of Logan International Airport’s clientele to travelers from more than 36 overseas markets, according to the release.

Several residents said Patrick’s efforts are for a good cause, but they may not be worth the time, money and effort they require.

Leon Collins, 39, of Beacon Hill, originally from the United Kingdom, said Patrick’s mission has a powerful basis, but it is not as promising as other projects may be.

“I would say that what he’s doing is a big stretch for the state. Globalization is good, but I don’t know if he has to go all the way over there to do it,” he said. “I’m sure, with 34 members, it’s gotta be expensive. I think his cause is not as promising as what he could be doing here. Having people work over there is not going to solve the problems here.”

Dustin Masterson, 34, of Brighton, said trips like these are necessary to promote the brand of the state.

“It’s absolutely acceptable for him to use taxpayer money because it’s part of his job as governor of Massachusetts,” he said. “If you look at it in terms of amount of tax money the state receives, it’s only a small fraction, and it’s going to good use.”

Theresa Suber, 49, of Allston, said she does not think this trip is worth the small amount of time left in office.

“I heard about this trip, but he’s only doing his job. He’s still the governor, and he still has to do his job. At the same time, this is a big project, and I don’t think this is something he’ll be able to really do in the amount of time he has left,” she said. “He should be bringing less people, definitely not 34. With that many people, they’re probably going to have some work, but more leisure and relaxation.”

BU, City, State detail counter-terrorism measures

In the weeks after Islamic militant group ISIS killed two American journalists and made several threats to terrorize the United States from within its borders, representatives from Massachusetts, the City of Boston and Boston University say they are doing everything they can to keep their communities safe and prepare for all possible terroristic threats.

In a televised speech to the nation on Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States was recruiting a global coalition to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is another name for ISIS.

In the case of a threatened attack closer to home, Massachusetts State Police and Boston’s Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation work together alongside other local and federal agencies in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, said Kieran Ramsey, assistant special agent of Boston’s Division of the FBI.

“Their [State Police and FBI] posture is to examine the threats that are out there and take measures to not only litigate, but disrupt those threats,” Ramsey said. “They are meant to sit together…share expertise but most importantly take a look and examine very closely and track very closely what threats may be here in this area.”

Ramsey said the FBI currently has a heightened sense of vigilance due to international and geopolitical tension.

“Given again the various threats that we pay attention to around the world, it’s not necessarily going to be tied to an anniversary [of 9/11],” he said. “Any community could be a target at any given time.”

Aside from tracking, managing and assessing threats, the JTTF holds “table talk” conversations and conducts field training exercises. Ultimately, Ramsey said, raising community awareness is one of the most important aspects of keeping the city safe.

“We actually practice with state, federal and local partners to ask, ‘what is our response going to look like? How are we going to coordinate and communicate?’” he said. “Everybody has to have some level of vigilance. It’s not meant to have people live in fear or be paranoid…It’s meant to make sure that people always maintain a level of vigilance.”

As members of the JTTF, the FBI and State Police work together to gather intelligence and investigate crimes related to those that may lead to a terrorist attack, said Trooper Thomas Ryan, spokesman for State Police.

“We are well aware of the anniversary of September 11 coming up,” he said. “During that time of year, we function with a heightened sense of awareness of the sign of that date, realizing the obvious significance of it and the obvious increased possibility of some type of terrorism issue.”

Ryan said State Police collaborates with other agencies in order to assess potential terroristic threats.

“We address threats as they come,” he said. “Certainly, if we receive a threat of any type of terrorism, that’s something that we would address with all available resources we have, and in partner with other agencies in the War on Terror and in counterterrorism efforts.”

BU’s own police force has put time and effort into terrorism and active-shooter prevention, which is necessary to maintain campus safety and security, said BU Police Department Deputy Director of Public Safety Scott Paré.

“An attack can come in all ways, means, forms and sizes, even in the form of an active shooter, which can be considered a terrorist attack,” he said. “We do active shooter training alongside Boston Police Department and State Police. We’ve had such things as suspicious unattended packages in the area, and we work on how we respond, and we work together as a team both for IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and unattended packages.”

BUPD prepares for these types of emergencies through a system of protocol, constant training and practice exercises, Paré said. BU also operates under the Incident Command System, a national program for structuring and coordinating an efficient response.

“You never know what the threat is going to be, so we do training for the officers to recognize suspicious behavior, people acting in ways that may arouse suspicion enough that we want to go talk to that individual,” he said. “We expand our eyes and ears out there. We have people who take different roles and train for their roles, and if we have an incident, we know what to do.”

Paré said BUPD strives to improve their protocol and skills, not only during high-risk periods, but at all times to keep over 30,000 BU students, faculty and staff as safe as possible.

“We know that anniversary dates are big dates for terrorists, but we’re certainly not going to let our guard down because it’s not an anniversary,” he said. “I would hope that we’re always improving. I hope that it’s monthly, daily, hourly. We’re always trying to improve. Everyone has a heightened sense of awareness, and we are always trying to get the public involved.”

However, Boston could never be 100 percent secure, said international relations Professor Joseph Wippl, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who specializes in security and intelligence.

“The risk of a major terrorist attack in Boston is very low, but not impossible,” he said in an email. “The reason [being that] it would take manpower, coordination, secrecy and money to mount a major attack. The risk of a minor attack in Boston is greater because the perpetrators of such an attack would be small in numbers and be limited in their capabilities to obtain lethal explosives.”

Wippl also said it was unlikely the anniversary of any major terrorist attack would prompt another major incident.

“The attack on the Madrid trains took place on March 11, 2004. This is the only attack I can remember connected to 9/11,” he said. “Terrorists most likely would attack when we do not expect an attack rather than on a day we would.”

Several students and residents said they are confident in the capabilities of the police force and those involved in the War on Terror, but people need to be cognizant of potential threats around the world.

Madison Sparber, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said even though BUPD has made noticeable efforts to keep BU’s campus safe, students should understand that the city and the world, is not as safe as it might seem.

“A lot of people think they’re in a bubble, and they feel very safe,” she said. “People try to keep an eye out for things, but in terms of a huge terrorist threat, I don’t think they are really looking out for that right now. It feels safe, but you wouldn’t really know.”

Sisay Girma Tefera, 34, of Kenmore, said residents have to constantly remain vigilant of their surroundings, especially in the Fenway neighborhood, due to the large volume of people present during baseball season.

“People are comfortable, but I don’t think they should be, especially in an area like Kenmore Square, so close to Fenway Park,” he said. “There needs to be awareness, as in any situation, and people need to keep their eyes out for any suspicious people.”

Asia Alsgaard, a senior in CAS, said BUPD offers services that make her feel safe from any kind of attack, but Boston’s prominence since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings might have put the city at heightened risk.

“I never really thought of Boston as being a target city, but then again, I would never have thought the Boston Marathon attack would have happened,” she said. “I haven’t noticed any huge changes in the way the city is handling things, but I personally feel very comfortable at BU. I never feel threatened, and if I do, I know I can go to the blue lights. There are always police cars going by, so I never feel like they’re far away.”