Safety a priority for Student Government Association

Students expressed concerns about dark walking paths, dangerous parking lots and the risks of traveling off campus at Tuesday night’s House of Student Representatives meeting.

Glory Robinson, associate dean of campus life, asked student representatives to talk about various campus life concerns for inclusion in a safety report due at the end of April. Robinson broke the representatives into four groups, which were each asked the same questions. The groups answered questions by Robinson and TCU Police Cpl. Brad Murphey and Stg. Michael Hanvey. The groups said they were surprised their concerns were so similar.

Most students said they felt safe walking around campus during the day but were nervous about traveling after dark. Several concerns were raised about the unlit pathway between Scharbauer Hall and the library.

In October, a female student reported to police that she was sexually assaulted in the area by Sadler Hall as she walked from her dormitory to the library at night. Following the assault, student safety escort service Froggie Five-0 reported an increased number of escort requests.

Alex Collins, sophomore Programming Council chair, said more and brighter lights would make walking around campus feel safer to students when heading to the library at night. Others students added that there were dozens of other unlit spots both on and off campus that need additional or brighter street lights.

While current programs such as the blue emergency boxes and Froggie Five-0 were commended, the representatives had many ideas for improvement.

Some female students requested special parking permits to avoid long walks from their car at night and expressed a need for Froggie Five-0 to be available at later hours.

Robinson listened to the students’ concerns and answered questions about the current services available to them. After learning more about the way emergency boxes and shuttle services work, many students suggested that the campus community may not know how to properly use some of the programs.

Sophomore art history major Hannah Kunnemann said unsafe conditions off campus were especially problematic for students without a car because they frequently had to walk through dangerous areas at night. Kunnemann’s ideas for improvement included a shuttle service from lighted bus stops at the end of neighborhood streets. Multiple off-campus residents suggested heavier police surveillance of surrounding neighborhoods.

Senior Merillat Pittman, speaker of the house, said she and her friends were extremely cautious walking the short distance from their cars to their doors at off-campus residences.

Robinson acknowledged off-campus residents’ concerns but said that there are limitations to how far TCU Police can patrol outside of campus boundaries. Robinson said the university is also working with the City of Fort Worth to make off-campus residents feel safer.