Today: Feb 26, 2024

Students weigh in on campus safety

 SIMONE VIRZINews Writer

From police constantly patrolling the campus to residents being required to swipe in to their dorm building, junior education major Kelly Wood said overall, Southern seems to be a safe campus.

“I think [Southern police] are doing a good job,” she said, adding there is “usually some cop somewhere.”

Wood, a resident in Brownell Hall, said she has seen police officers on campus in cars, riding bikes, and has also seen them walking.

According to Sgt. Marc Tullo, police officers are “always patrolling,” whether they are “out there with the patrol car or on mountain bikes.”

Another safety precaution Southern has taken is requiring residents to sign a guest into the building, even if the guest lives in another dorm on campus.

Sophomore Kim Phelan said signing friends in is “a pain,” but she understands the campus “is trying to be safe.”

Phelan, an English major who lives in West Campus, said she would prefer if students had access to swipe into any of the buildings, and not just the one the student lives in would be a better option to have on campus.

Wood also said she does not like the fact residents have to sign non-residents in, especially since a student can only sign in two friends, adding the amount of students someone can sign in “should be unlimited.”

With the exception of Schwartz Hall, the entrance doors to dorm buildings are always locked. The front door of Schwartz is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. because the building offers several resources to Southern students, including the Career Center and the Women’s Center, according to Schwartz Hall Director Michael Galbicsek.

In order for any student to use the resources, “people have to sign in,” he said.

All dorm buildings have a desk attendant on duty 24-hours a day, every day. This is relatively new because until about four years ago, Galbicsek said desk attendants “used to leave around midnight.”

Even though there is always a desk attendant working, Phelan said some may be distracted.

“Some [of the desk attendants] are more on top of [their job] than others,” she said.

Wood said she “always signs people into Brownell” because she lives on the first floor. However, she does not always get signed in when she is visiting a friend in another building.

“Last week I went to North [Campus] and just walked in,” Wood said, adding the desk attendant did not question her or ask her to sign into the building. She also said she holds the door for someone as a common courtesy, not thinking a random person could be gaining access into the building.

Galbicsek said the desk in Schwartz Hall is “put in a specific place,” so that the desk attendant can see both the front door and the back door entrances. The back door is always locked, so if a non-resident wants to come in, they must use the front door to gain access to the building.

There are also cameras at the doors, desks, and on the stairwells, he said.

“I feel like [the university safety is] good, but we need [additional] cameras—especially in the parking lots,” Wood said, adding a sticker she was fond of was stolen off her car, which was parked in the Brownell Hall parking lot.

Wood said if there were more cameras, students would be more careful, “even if there’s fake cameras,” which could fool students.

According to Tullo, there are cameras “all over campus,” including in the resident and commuter parking garages, in the lobbies in every door, and in Lots 8 and 9. There are also cameras in Conn Hall and the Adanti Student Center—the student center has the most cameras.

In regards to safety in general, Phelan suggested the university should install more blue lights on campus. Students can use the phones in case of an emergency and a Southern police officer is supposed to respond rapidly. She also said the university should make students more aware of the phones and its function.

There are currently approximately 66 blue lights on campus, both on the academic side and the residential side of campus, according to Tullo. If a student uses the blue light, Southern police officers will be contacted. If a student dials 911, New Haven police officers will respond to the call.

Being on campus, it can be easy to forget the university is located in New Haven—except in the evening, said Wood.

“[The campus is] just as dangerous as downtown New Haven at night,” she said, referencing the body of a dead woman was recently discovered in a man’s back yard in Hamden, not far from Southern

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