The Issue with Safety on Campus

Patrick O'Connor

Alessia Bicknese, Opinion Editor

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Should students be able to drive to classes after 6 p.m. without worrying about getting a ticket?

It’s 5:45 p.m. The sun began setting well over an hour ago. But it’s time to head out to your 6 p.m. class — that won’t end until 8:40.

The weather is brisk, crisp, and the wind is sharp against your face. It hurts your nose, burns your ears, and numbs your toes. But, you have a class to get to, and you’re already running late.

So, you fight through the cold. Then you see the first blue safety light ahead of you. How fast could you make it there if you needed help. How fast would help arrive? It’s dark out, what if no one noticed? It’s freezing out, speed-walking is not an option, and driving closer to class is not an option — because you’ll get a ticket.

So you brace yourself, and walk through the dimly lit streets, and you wonder why you can’t drive to your night class if it means being safe, and staying warm.

Shouldn’t the safety and comfort of students mean more than a parking space? Students who have already paid to reserve a parking spot — say in Forest Hills, for example — should be allowed to park on campus, at least at night. Instead, students who feel afraid of walking in the dark risk getting their car towed, or getting a ticket, and that’s the price you have to pay for safety around here.

The university suggests getting a safety app, “Crisismanager,” to ensure security for students, but is that enough? There are blue emergency lights scattered around campus, and even a couple on the walk to Forest Hills — but is that enough? There are security guards at the entry ways of certain residencies, but what will that do for students who are making their way from Echlin Hall to Simon Place at 8:40 p.m.?

On occasion, campus security will be outside of the Forest Hills entrance, but again, what will that do for students who are still walking down Simon Place?

It’s not a pleasant feeling reading articles about nearby robberies, or students being held at gunpoint, even if it was a couple of years ago. What has changed since then?

Courtesy vans, and university shuttles exist to put students at ease, and help them safely reach their destination. But is this enough?

Thalia Rodriguez, a Forest Hills resident, said, “I definitely think students that have night classes should be able to park at their academic buildings. It’s really one of the safest options.”

“A lot of [parking spots] open up around the time night classes start because most kids are already done for the day,” she said.

According to Rodriguez, the alternative to walking, the shuttle, only runs every hour, forcing students to wait in the dark, or choose to walk home in the dark.

The Forest Hills resident said she has felt unsafe and “on edge” when walking from Forest Hills to campus.

When arriving to academic buildings to night classes, there is a clear abundance of parking spots unoccupied, so why must they remain available, rather than be put to good use to secure the safety of students?