UPD, students, faculty survey campus safety

The annual Campus Safety Walk took place on Monday Nov. 9. Campus police, faculty members and students spent about an hour walking around campus to look for possible deficiencies in safety. The safety walk’s location alternates every other year. Since the walk examined the main campus last year, this year the walk took place on Southside. Meeting in front of Erwin Hall, the group of approximately 25 people was led by University Police Department Chief Thomas Kilcullen.

Kilcullen explained that the mission of the walk included “noting the lights that are out, where to trim foliage and issues for disability accessibility.” Officials took note of each problem that required attention in legal pads. “We want to note and address these issues and change them for the future,” Kilcullen added.

Students and faculty were asked to keep an eye out for any of these defects. Some minor issues were spotted early on in the walk, but the majority of issues that walkers saw were simple light outages.

In parking Lot V, for example, the bulb in the Blue Light Emergency Phone System appeared to be out—as did the bulbs in some lights on the sides of Wayne, Suffolk and Nassau Halls. One lamppost next to Sturges Hall had a broken pane and another light was out at its entrance. UPD stated that these lighting issues were simple fixes for maintenance crews.

Although the walk exclusively ran its course through the southern portion of campus, students were asked to voice concerns about safety throughout campus. Two students used this opportunity to point out an area near the MacVittie College Union where they worried that the lack of lighting fixtures was potentially dangerous.

Because a goal of the walk was enhancing disability accessible areas, participants came prepared—one student came with crutches and another was pushed around in a wheelchair. Some students came with a particular interest in improving accessibility, including freshman Maria Anderson. “I’m in a section of Disability in America, so I’m mainly concerned with the accessibility here on campus,” she said.

Anderson added that the walk was “very good in terms of students’ involvement.”

Junior Brittany Maiorano was one of the students that helped push around a wheelchair on the walk. “The campus was a little better than I expected,” she said. “It wasn’t that handicap inaccessible, but we didn’t go into the buildings and I think that would be the true test.”

The campus walk is one method that University Police and maintenance have for examining the campus. Quarterly reports and individual examinations also are taken by staff to assess safety and accessibility.

This year, newly inaugurated President Denise Battles joined the walk with her husband Michael Mills and her dog Lucy. Battles asked UPD officers a variety of questions about the methodology behind the maintenance and made conversation with fellow walkers.

“Having a campus safety walk that is open to the students is a great idea,” Battles said.