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The Blue & Gray Press | May 25, 2017

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Campus Safety Walk Shows Problems in Security Despite Blue Light Improvements

The administration is making an effort to make our campus safer, even if it is one baby step at a time. The annual Safety Walk, which occurred on Wednesday Sept. 30 led by Judy Hample herself, was an alleged success.

The police department is said to have “passed” this year, which is an obvious improvement from last year’s embarrassing “fail” when the police failed to locate which blue light the Safety Walk participants were near.

However, it still took the police six minutes to get to the site of Hample’s “attack.” On such a small campus, it stands to reason that the reaction could have been much quicker.

Also, one would think that the campus police department would over-prepare for this year’s walk given the incident last year. The safety walks are no secret. They are announced far enough in advance for the police to have their crack team assembled and game plan prepared.
If the six-minute responders were our campus security’s crack team, our university is in more than a little trouble. A student briskly walking to class can make it across campus in ten.

Not to say that our Fredericksburg campus is particularly unsafe, but safety has been on the minds of most students, parents and faculty since the heavily publicized sexual assault that occurred last year in the parking deck.

This semester, there have already been four reported cases of sexual assault or misconduct on campus. The majority of these cases happened within the residence halls however, and not outside on Campus Walk where the blue lights are located.

Even so, the blue lights are supposed to provide a sense of security for students walking the campus alone or just at night. That is why it is imperative that faith in them be restored.

A department that is allotted as much money as our entire athletics department needs to show results. Those results should not only include bright, shiny new golf carts that rival those at the country club.

Security incentives also should not include refusing their well-advertised escort service. There have been several instances reported to the Bullet of students asking for escorts and being either denied, or told they will have to wait as long as 30 minutes alone in the dark.

Really, if the van’s not available, crank up one of those golf carts. Students aren’t picky.

In short, improvement is good. “Pass” is much better than “fail.” But the university should look carefully at what constitutes a “pass” and strive not only to pass but exceed standards.

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