Gert Neubauer: Meet the Woman Behind Campus Safety

Gert Neubauer: Meet the Woman Behind Campus Safety

You might recognize Gert Neubauer from posters around campus that invite students to “meet the smile behind the mask.” As Associate Director for Campus Safety, Neubauer is behind nearly every move of the Campus Safety department she currently oversees their daily operations, which include patrol, investigations, the dispatch communication center, gate card concerns and parking.

Neubauer is nearing the four decade mark of service at Colgate. She started working within the Campus Safety department as a patrol officer in July of 1983 and has climbed the ranks ever since. Although Neubauer grew up near Hamilton and attended a two-year community college where she studied criminal justice, she says, she had “no real knowledge of campus safety at a college campus” at that time.

In her final semester in college, however, Neubauer interned for the college’s campus safety department where she caught her first glimpse into this field of work. 

After graduation, Neubauer left to work for an insurance company as a clerk reader for a year and a half. This gig was “just something to hold [her] over until [she] found this job” at Colgate, she said. However, becoming a campus safety officer wasn’t Neubauer’s ultimate plan. Her original intention was to serve as a state trooper, but she “just happened to fall into [Colgate] through a friend of [her] husband’s.” She even considered transitioning into a state trooper career after her first years of working at Colgate, but she ended up “really enjoying it and chose to stay.”

Colgate appeals to Neubauer for a number of reasons. She’s able to stay close to her large local family, and she claims cities aren’t her style anyways. She appreciates being able to recognize people within the Colgate community and knowing what department they’re in, and the opportunity to get to know students is another important factor for her. 

In fact, she considers the interactions with students the most rewarding part of her job. When asked about her favorite part of her position, she mentioned the rapidly changing nature of the profession she’s seen the department transition from “typing reports up on the typewriter” to using the computer software systems of today. She also mentioned that “the age of our clientele never changes,” which is something that “keeps [her] young.”

Neubauer placed an emphasis on the enjoyment she draws from “just being able to help someone out.” She explained that it could be as simple as sitting down to talk with and reassure someone about a parking ticket because it’s “really no big deal… we’re just trying to get people to comply.” If Neubauer’s not able to be of immediate help, she “know[s] where the resources are that can help.”

COVID-19 wise, some things have changed within the Campus Safety department, while others, like Neubauer’s handling of the daily operations, haven’t. 

“We work with [the Colgate’s COVID-19] task force to make any COVID-19 decisions, policies… we make things happen,” she said

While Colgate’s patrol officers need to be on higher alert of behavior violations due to the Commitment to Community Health, the department is more active in other areas, too. 

“It could be as simple as working with SGA to find some additional classrooms that could be open for studying, or it could be working with others within Colgate’s Emergency Operations Center to set up the surveillance testing areas,” Neubauer said

Outside of her role at Colgate, Neubauer and her husband enjoy maintaining and hiking on their 17 acres of property. Additionally, the two have a dog and a sports car and like to go to car shows and dinner with their friends. 

When reflecting on her Colgate career, Neubauer is pleased with the experience: “If I had to do it again, I certainly would.”