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Recent attacks on CU’s campus are making students stop and wonder how safe they really are.
I challenge the safety of central campus, and encourage CU administrators to take an easy step in order to make campus safe for late-night studiers.
Norlin Library’s 24-hour round-the-clock study center helps students work harder and later by offering a safe environment where test-crammers can keep those books cracked open until that 8 a.m. midterm the next day.
But for those of us not prepared to greet the morning sun from within Norlin’s walls, the long trek home from late-night library hours can be dangerous.
Let’s consider the options. CU Police say they protect us with extra lighting installations, blue emergency buttons and the NightRide program. But is this enough?
Blue emergency phone boxes are located all across campus, thanks to police and administration. However, if someone is holding you up at gunpoint, are you really going to be running full speed toward the emergency call button, especially if the assailant has already scoped them out and attacks you when you aren’t conveniently standing right near one?
My guess is most students in that situation wouldn’t be able to make it to the button in time to make a difference.
Additional lighting around Norlin is great, but if you get jumped by someone at 3 a.m. when no one else is around to see the crime take place, are light levels really going to matter that much? Admittedly, thieves and assailants are likely better deterred with increased lighting. Darkness gives attackers an element of surprise, eliminates your ability to coherently fight back and deters assailants when others are in the area to see.
But when college students are walking home with their headphones in their ears, the element of surprise and the ability to fight back no longer depend on whether it is light or dark, since they give that up the moment they pop their headphones in their ears.
If no one is even around to see you attacked, it doesn’t matter whether or not there is safety lighting. Might as well put that money toward something else.
NightRide gives weary studiers rides home only until 1:15 a.m. during the school year, extending the service until 2 a.m. during finals period. Closing that book at 2:30 a.m.? Looks like you’re out of luck for a safe ride home.
Let’s find the money to expand NightRide’s five-car fleet, and help them pay more drivers who can work night shifts, making sure that everyone gets home safely. Adding cars and drivers to their ranks can help NightRide better serve the students they seek to protect.
Remember those handicapped and service vehicle parking spots outside Ketchum that you got a ticket for parking in last week? What if some of those parking spots were free and available from midnight until 5 a.m. for those using the library? Let’s keep a couple of spots open and available for a person with a disability, but let’s put the rest of those spots to better use rather than leaving them vacant. If a car isn’t gone from the spot by 5 a.m., by all means, go ahead and ticket the poor soul who thought they could best CU Parking and Transportation Services. But in the meantime, let’s use the space we have to keep our students safer.
Students who wish to use the library after hours currently can park in metered spots near the music building and across from the Euclid AutoPark. When it’s a cold winter night and you’re just leaving the library at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., however, those spots are quite a long trek away, especially if you have to spend time heating up your car and scraping your windows. With CU’s limited supply of parking spaces, it can be difficult to find parking closer to Norlin that won’t get you a ticket. If CU were to allow late-night parking in usually restricted spaces, however, students would feel better protected and better served.
It will only cost the university a small charge, likely the cost of a small change in the parking signs to note the updated hours. Maybe CUSG could even rally the troops and get students to pay for the potential cost.
Is it worth it?
Is safety worth making a few small changes?
I think so, and my guess is my fellow students agree with me.
Trust me, CU: Better make amends now rather than face ugly consequences when some unsuspecting studier does get attacked.
Contact CU Independent Editor-in-Chief Kate Spencer at Katherine.email@example.com.
Spectacular column Kate! It’s hard to imagine how this isn’t the smartest, proactive and fiscally sound approach to a serious problem. Student safety should always be of the highest priority on a college campus. That said, students need to be smarter about their environment, to walk around campus in the dead of night while wearing headphones is never smart. These thugs know you are exhausted and stressed, a student who appears aware of their surroundings and focused on their trek home, is more likely to arrive safely.
Allowing the late night studier access to these parking spaces is a sound solution to help ensure student safety. This parent says, YES!