SGA initiatives: Improving student safety

This past week’s Student Government Association survey focused on campus safety. Although safety doesn’t seem to be a major concern for many students, most would still like to see a strengthening of safety measures taken, particularly at night or during the weekends. One of the issues that student government wishes to address is the poor lighting situation in certain areas of campus. Many students believe it’s unsafe.

What most students don’t know is that Radford University provides escort services where RU police walk a student to their car or dorm if it is late at night and they feel unsafe. Unfortunately, it’s very rare for students to wait for this escort service; instead, they choose to take the risk and walk across the bridge to their car. In some instances, waiting

SGA is putting a stop to the unsafe ways around Radford University. Graphic by Kate McHugh.
SGA is putting a stop to the unsafe ways around Radford University. Graphic by Kate McHugh.

for the police to arrive may actually feel more unsafe than walking home alone at night. Many students are unaware of this option anyway.

It’s important to ensure everyone’s safety at all times, not only for those who live on campus, but also for students who must walk alone off-campus. Increased security should not simply mean a stronger officer presence around campus. Many students feel overwhelmed when around security officers, particularly if the officer presence is pervasive enough to make students more cautious.

Instead of having a heavy police presence, SGA is trying to provide a campus watch program led by student volunteers.

The idea is still in progress and no policy has been made, but according to survey responses, 45% of students would feel safer if such a program existed. Although this program might not be easy to implement, it’s important to search for alternative measures to improve safety.

Some other suggestions received by SGA include implementing security cameras around key points on campus, increasing the number of blue-light police phones and expanding them off-campus, and working with the city of Radford to increase lighting on the streets and intersections near residential complexes. These are all suggestions that SGA may research before continuing this project.

SGA is always eager to hear what students have to say! Whether SGA gets student opinion by offering free pizza in the Bonnie or giving out free rides on golf karts, they work hard to ensure that they’re properly representing their constituents. If you have suggestions about how SGA can better represent the student body, feel free to mention it in the comments section. Also, email Wendy Viana, the At-Large Senator, at wviana@radford.edu if you have more questions!