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Group discusses campus safety

Carolyn Hutyra | Monday, November 5, 2012

The members of Campus Life Council discussed on-campus safety at its meeting Friday afternoon.

While crime numbers are not high or increasing, student body president Brett Rocheleau said students are still often afraid to walk around campus alone at night.

“We should try to minimize that fear,” Rocheleau said.

Multiple campus resources are aimed at keeping the grounds safe and comfortable, he said, but the student body does not have a widespread awareness of their presence.

“Whatever we do or whatever we have, it’s publicizing it [that is the issue],” Howard rector Margaret Morgan said.

She said students need to know Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), the Quad Squad and Safewalk protect the campus.

Rector Maria Hinton of Cavanaugh said the Quad Squad consists of several officers who are assigned to monitor the various quads.

“They walk constantly, all night long,” she said. “Their shifts run from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and they stop in the halls and check their basements.”

Night monitors were also recently reinstated in all women’s halls this year. Morgan said these officers sit in the lobbies of the residence buildings in order to instill a sense of security.

An additional safety device is the blue light phone. These emergency phones are located in various areas of campus, such as near the lakes and along the edge of campus by Stepan Fields.

But chief of staff Katie Baker said NDSP does not advocate the phones as a strong form of crime prevention.

“They don’t get used really and don’t deter crime,” Baker said.

Rocheleau said one way to perhaps deter crime would be to expand the number of video cameras on campus, although Notre Dame already has several located on buildings overlooking the parking lots.

Another idea to improve campus safety was to increase lighting around campus.

Junior James Slaven, Student Union Board director of publicity, said the construction area around the Morris Inn is a safe walking area. He said the constant, bright lights allow students to feel safe at night, but the downside is the annoyance they cause to nearby dorms.

“We need to find a balance between no lights and floodlights,” he said.

Areas specified for increased lighting included God Quad, the crosswalks leading to Saint Mary’s and the paths around the Pasquerilla East and West areas. Baker said these locations deal with a large amount of student traffic even at night.

“We mentioned putting reflectors on those crosswalks so they stand out more,” she said.

Walsh Hall senator Veronica Guerrero said the issue of safety also requires common sense. For instance, students should not go on midnight runs around the lakes.

“You have to be aware of your surroundings,” she said.

In order to be fully aware, Rocheleau said it is also important to notice large sidewalk cracks and flooding around campus. Although the climate makes it difficult to maintain quality sidewalks, Rocheleau said the university acknowledges the problem and is trying to address it.

“They’ve asked us to talk to people and get a list of specific areas,” Baker said.