Blue emergency lights are not going anywhere

Though some colleges facing difficult financial climates have eliminated the blue light emergency phone system in the wake of budget cuts, Geneseo continues to use the system as a safety precaution for campus living.

Last week, Inside Higher Ed, a website focusing on news in higher education, reported that a California community college decided to end its use of blue light emergency phones to save money. Geneseo's Assistant Police Chief Scott Kenney said that Geneseo will not be following suit.

"We have no plans to remove the blue lights. In fact, we've been systematically adding to them due to the capital improvement projects," Kenney said. "When we need to add wires, it's easier to add them during a construction phase."

The blue light emergency phone system allows students to contact University Police immediately from areas all over campus. There are over 70 blue light phones on campus, and UP recently installed a new phone in the B lot parking area near Saratoga Terrace.

According to Kenney, the police station does receive calls from the blue light phones, but most calls come from student cell phones. Despite this, Kenney said UP views the lights as an important part of campus security. "We don't go by the theory that they're not useful," he said.

Dean of Students Leonard Sancilio also said he believes the blue lights are important for maintaining campus safety.

"Students don't always have cell phones with them. We want to make sure that everyone, regardless of means or technology, has the means to access the police," he said.

"Is there a cost? Probably," said Sancilio. "But how much is peace of mind and safety for our students and visitors worth?"