Students express concerns about lighting during Campus Safety Walk
By Naidelly Coelho
Students brought up their concerns about lighting and accessibility during SGA’s biannual Campus Safety Walk Nov. 15.
Student Trustee McKenzie Ward welcomed all students and faculty in attendance. She said the walk is around the campus perimeter and everyone who sees an issue can stop and point to the problem.
SGA President Dara Barros said parking lots, including Maynard and Maple lots, don’t have specific arrows pointing in the direction of the traffic flow.
“This was a problem brought up last year and nothing was done about it yet,” Barros said.
Sergeant Harry Singh said, “Maple Lot has a one way street to enter and exit,” but there is nothing painted on the parking lot itself to facilitate car flow.
Meg Nowak Borrego, dean of students, wrote the concern down.
Barros said there is a lack of lighting between the Admissions Office and CASA. She said, “Once lights from the Admissions Office are shut off, it is pitch dark.”
Danny Giard, director of Facilities Operations, said, “The majority of the light coming out is from the inside. … It’s just a matter of wiring issues.”
Ward brought up another issue in front of Peirce Hall. “There is no ramp access in this area,” she said.
“If someone who is in crutches or in a wheelchair is leaving the Athletic Center, they can't come down toward this area without having to either go through the parking lot and then come around that way,” she said.
Dale Hamel, executive vice president, said this will be a project request to generate a cost estimate, and “it might take time.
“And to be frank, it probably isn’t going to be cheap,” Hamel said.
SGA Senator Dillon Riley said this area is not Kiwibot accessible.
Barros expressed concern about lighting issues in the street between Crocker Hall and the RAM TRAM. “It is way too dark for students walking late at night,” she said.
SGA SATF Treasurer Sam Houle pointed to a student walking and said they were barely visible. “This is concerning,” he said.
It was noted by Nowak Borrego.
Between Dwight Hall and the Whittemore Library is very dark, so it would be important to install an emergency blue light box in this area, Barros said.
“I know it's kind of financially infeasible right now and also you have to think of electricity, but having blue boxes where you can really kind of look around and see one from every direction would be very helpful,” Ward said.
Hamel said, “It's usually easier where you can get electricity, and again, it's the kind of thing to put in for a project.”
Ward asked if there are ways of installing an emergency blue light box on a lighting pole.
“Potentially, yes,” Giard said.
Houle said nonresidents of certain residence halls can enter any building to access the emergency blue light box.
Singh said the blue lights in front of the buildings’ entrances are emergency blue light boxes. “They are newer versions.”
Ward expressed concern about the area in front of Miles Bibb Hall. She said there are lights on the roof, but no light is coming off and “it is very dark.”
Giard said those lights are very old and outdated, so “they would need to do some research to see what else we can build from it.”
Hamel said hopefully, there will be a way to get those lights fixed.
Houle asked how students could get from the back of Miles Bibb Hall to Salem End Lot if there is no crosswalk for students.
“Especially for students who are in a wheelchair - they're not going to be able to cross the road safely if they need to,” he said.
Hamel said it’s a city issue.
Houle also expressed his concern about the curb in front of West Hall. “There is no curb cut on that sidewalk,” he said.
“I know it’s a city issue, but we haven’t gotten any response yet,” he said.
Ward asked who is the new ADA coordinator on FSU’s campus.
Hamel said currently, there is no specific person, but Human Resources is a great place to bring up concerns about campus safety.
Students expressed concern about Maynard Lot being too dark.
Singh said, “I swear, those lights shut off and come back on. The reason I know that was because when I was at the stairway, I saw it was dark so I put that on my list, and then I was called back there for some other reason and the light was on.”
Ward asked if an emergency blue light box could be added to the middle of the parking lot on the lighting pole.
Nowak Borrego noted that request.
Singh said the University Police Department recently hired a new parking enforcement officer who will start next week.
Going up the hill from West Hall, Ward said it is very dark when the O’Connor Hall lights are off.
“I know it can be hard because you can't project light into the street, but I was wondering if there's any way to kind of light up that area over there without projecting it directly into the sight of cars,” she said.
Giard said they could possibly have some lighting on the side of the street.
Ward pointed out changes have been made since previous Campus Safety Walks.
“Before that Campus Safety Walk, it was really dark between Foster Hall and McCarthy, and now it's actually really well lit,” she said.
Hamel said the amphitheater is really well lit due to concerns raised at a past Campus Safety Walk.
SGA Diversity and Inclusion Officer Erin Gemme expressed concern about the stairs going up to Horace Mann Hall.
“I come there a lot at night, and it's hard to see where one stair ends. So, it will be really helpful if the yellow lines on that were repainted because that also helps you with people that are visually impaired,” they said.
“That’s easy to do,” Giard said.
Ward emphasized the differences made since her freshman year Campus Safety Walk.
“I feel like we've cut down on the amount of concerns by at least half,” she said.
The Campus Safety Walk ended with brownies baked by Ward.
[Editor’s Note: McKenzie Ward is Opinions Editor for The Gatepost]