The new year is bringing a new Interim Director of Campus Safety to Keene State College.
Director of Campus Safety Jeffrey Maher accepted a position working on behalf of the attorney general’s office at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, and will be replaced in an interim capacity by Interim Director of Campus Safety Kevin Williams.
Maher said that Campus Safety has been working to ensure a seamless transition in leadership before his last day at KSC, Feb. 1.
“We’ve been fortunate enough in that Mr. Williams arrived here on Tuesday and during that time, I had hours and will have additional hours with him to talk to him about campus culture, some of the initiatives we have underway, some of the staffing needs that we have here at campus safety and to make him generally aware of the environment he’s entering,” Maher said.
Born and raised in Detroit, Williams said he studied in criminal justice and was recruited right out of college to work for the Los Angeles Police Department for 20 years, before retiring and moving to Oregon, where he was eventually hired to be the Chief and Director of Public Safety at the University of Oregon. Williams said he also worked for Arizona State University and the University of Michigan before coming to work at KSC.
“This was an opportunity to come here and help the school out while they looked for another director,” Williams said.
Having spent less than a week on campus, Williams said that his experience on campus has been great, “The people here, the students that I’ve met, the faculty, the staff, everybody’s been so friendly. It’s almost like I’ve been living here for a long time.”
Williams said his philosophy towards the job stems from having worked at three higher education institutions previously, the experience helped shape his approach.
“To me, we’re here to support the students. Without the students, there wouldn’t be any need for us… I’m going to have a meeting with all the staff and I’m going to let them know here’s my philosophy: We will treat everybody with dignity and respect. There will be no exceptions. It doesn’t matter what a person’s race, creed, color, gender identity, sexual preference, political leaning, it doesn’t matter. Our most precious asset on a college campus are the students. I’m not saying that the faculty and staff aren’t valuable; they are. But I know that the most important are the students. They pay the salary, they’re the reason why we exist,” Williams said.
Williams said that he believes in making campus safety a source of position interaction with students, “I don’t believe in occupying forces, I don’t believe in chasing students down and putting cases on them. My belief is campus security, campus policing, and campus engagement should be about helping students become better leaders in their lives. That means, that if a student has done something that they shouldn’t have done, and particularly if they haven’t hurt anybody, this probably a teachable moment.”
President Melinda Treadwell said that Williams will serve as Interim Director of Campus Safety for the rest of Spring semester while the college searches for a full-time replacement.
“Part of why we selected him as our interim, and we’re thrilled to get him, is that his background not only dealt with safety in the public sector, as a police officer, but he’s also been on a number of college campuses and he specifically has done incident command work. So as we look at our emergency response and communications one of his charges is to help us update our emergency planning and response activities. So that’s part of what he’ll do with us during his appointment, thrilled to have him,” Treadwell said.
Despite her enthusiasm for the new appointee, Treadwell said that Maher’s departure is a loss for the college, “I think Jeff was part of the reason we’ve done such successful work with expanding our reporting culture around Title IX at Keene State I think during his tenure. Because he is so professional and approachable and competent in his work that I think he has been someone that people will go to and tell their stories and he will follow through and conduct objective investigations and move to findings quickly.”
“He’s pursuing his dream… we’ll miss him but we wish him well and he’s going to be a remarkable asset to the state dealing with issues of sexual misconduct and adjudication, so he’s going to be a champion,” Treadwell said.
Reflecting on his time spent at KSC, Maher said, “I would like to say that this has been a tremendous experience for me. I’m grateful for it, that the past three and a half years I’ve been at Keene State have been very rewarding, and perhaps none more so than having the opportunity to work with our student body. They are truly an exceptional group, as well as the staff here at Campus Safety. It’s been my privilege and honor to work with them and trying to deliver a level of service here to the community that our students, staff, and faculty deserve.”
Vincent Moore can be contacted at