By Courtney Kimberlin
Student Government Association held a safety forum for students and local citizens on Tuesday Feb. 28.
Sarah Carpenter, who is a freshman senator on Student Senate, decided to take on her first project through Student Government Association with the safety forum.
“This has been a lengthy process since November, and I know we have had the Safety Walks in the past, but this way we can ask questions one on one with the people in charge,” Carpenter said. “This way we can voice our opinions and concerns about the campus.”
Administrators who had contributed to the safety forum in the past spoke during the question and answer process and outlined what their separate departments do to keep this campus safe.
One of them being Kenna Middleton, the director of University Housing.
“A lot more goes into our jobs than people realize, I do take care of Housing, but I also find ways to make sure there is involvement and keeping students safe in the dorms,” Middleton said.
Speakers cleared up some myths that had been floating around campus and explained some everyday challenges they see.
“The cross walk does not have the right-a-way, you have the right-a-way when you are on the crosswalk,” said Mark Welker, the executive director of public safety. “Also if you do get hit by a car while crossing the street, you do not get free tuition and do not get all A’s for the semester.”
Welker continued talking about the relevance of safety to the average college student.
“I used to think that apathy was the problem with the young adults on campus years ago but, now I believe that there is too much trust,” Welker said. “You cannot trust everyone you meet, so you cannot get angry when all we can do is follow up if something of yours is stolen.”
Middleton followed up talking about safety in the residence halls on campus.
“Housing’s biggest challenge is sometimes it seems as if students do not want to exactly be safe,” Middleton said. “Not saying that you guys do not care if you get hurt but, it seems as if safety causes an inconvenience to many. When there is a fire drill you do not hang out in your room until it is finished, you need to leave your room immediately because sometimes it may not be a drill.”
There were some people who came who were highly upset with the ratio of students to police officers. Questions were raised about the amount of rapes, assaults and break-ins the occured last semester and how this needs to be solved because people are scared to walk around campus at night. Suggestions were given that there need to be more lights in dark areas and possibly more police officers.
Other issues brought into the discussion were a new cross walk connecting the Lancaster lot to campus, the email notification system and the length of stoplights on campus.
Carpenter closed the forum with acknowledging all of the concerns and questions brought up and said plans and initiatives will be created accordingly.