Campus safety improvements needed


Photo Courtesy of Burly Vinson via Pexels

Well-lit walkways and paths are vital to students safety during the night.

If you walk on campus at night, it sure seems like the cost for light is at a premium. 


But if you walk on the pathway towards the sprinter station and even towards the student housing and parking structures available on-campus, you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking that the cost for light perhaps doubles or triples just a few steps off of it. 


For those of you who don’t walk or work on-campus regularly at night, it gets that dark. I think you get the point.


What can and should be done about it?


Simple: add lights. So, how much is enough? Where are they most needed? Does any particular location need security or patrols in addition to added lighting? What sort of light bulbs and fixtures would need to be added? Is there enough infrastructure present to build on what is already there without adding too much? 


All valid issues that whoever was in charge of that decision in designing the campus at the time most likely considered and made decisions that led to what is currently in place.


What I’m proposing, however, is surveying the student body at large (via Cougar Courses, perhaps, in exchange for an opportunity raffle or something to promote and encourage participation) as to where lights are most needed. The survey would need to include some pre-specified locations, as well as a write-in option to enable specifying a location not included, either because of human error or a lack of knowledge of l areas in need of nighttime light. 


Perhaps more important than light is added security and patrols by our campus’ University Police Department (UPD). Or maybe adding more of the blue-light-topped emergency intercom towers that already pepper the campus. These options ought to be included in questions in such a survey described in the previous paragraph. 

Adding cameras surveilling common areas may also help to both monitor and, more importantly, deter crimes should they occur. This very issue came up last month when an early-morning attempted strong-arm robbery suspect ran away in spite of the busy morning commute that was present that morning and the fact that it was next to the Quad student housing complex. When deterrence fails, getting high-quality video footage of the suspect is the next best thing in case of a poor suspect sketch and description. 


Alas, all of these things cost money but should still be considered. I think the best first-step would be instituting the survey as suggested earlier to gauge student opinions on the subject of campus lighting and security. Shining a light on these important topics should be more on the minds of students but they tend to not be until something happens on campus that truly hits close to home like the strong-arm robbery in the previous paragraph. 


Safety is important and because of the open nature of our campus, as it grows, the growing pains that can include inadequate lighting and security must be addressed. Students know better than anyone the ins and outs of what is not good enough on any college campus. 


So stay informed. Be proactive. Be safety-minded. Share your light, Cougars.