Administrators, students and staff members met to identify unsafe areas of campus last night as part of the 22nd annual Walk for Light, hosted by the Students’ Association Senate Projects and Services Committee.

Over 30 participants walked through property in and surrounding Hill Court, the Eastman Quadrangle and the pedestrian bridge – areas where students have felt threatened.

“This year we decided to solicit more student input,” Projects and Services Committee Chair and sophomore Hannah Geswein said. “We received over 100 student responses from tabling in Wilson Commons.”

Students stopped by the tables to express concerns and specify locations by circling them on campus maps.

The feedback was directly incorporated to the walking routes.

“Almost every person had a problem with some part of the tunnel system,” Geswein said. “This is the first year tunnels have been included.”

Past years’ walks followed an established pattern through campus, including walks to the Graduate Living Center. This year, the group broke into smaller teams dispatched to the identified areas.

“Improvements to lighting and additional blue light phones have helped tremendously over the years,” Assistant Director of Security for the River Campus and Eastman Alena Johnson said. “Now, 20 years later, we’re looking at refining past changes.”

Each team regrouped in Havens Lounge to discuss their findings, highlighting what they would list as a top priority.

The area underneath the bridge to Hill Court, back entrance to Morey Hall and loading dock between Meliora Hall and Bausch and Lomb Hall were described as dimly lit. Several lights along the UR bank of the Genesee River were reported to be broken or off cycle. UR Security has already notified Rochester officials of the problem.

Blue light emergency phones were also targeted in the walk.

“President Seligman tested a blue light phone,” Geswein said. “Security responded in about four minutes.”

One-touch call buttons were a suggested improvement for the phones, but UR Security officials reminded everyone that someone requiring assistance can pull a phone off the hook, similar to dialing 9-1-1 and hanging up.

Senator and junior Mlen-Too Wesley helped lead the walk and believes safety is a shared responsibility.

“It’s better to go do something before it happens,” he said. “As long as any student doesn’t feel safe, I don’t feel safe.”

Borchardt can be reached at jborchardt@campustimes.org.



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