A student focus group is proposing a bright and simple idea to increase safety through the addition of more lights and emergency phones on campus.
After pinpointing numerous problem areas, Associated Students Off-Campus Rep. and fourth-year political science major Ryann Gastwirth said she and a group of students will soon introduce a resolution to A.S. Legislative Council in support of more lights and emergency phones on campus, and will do the same to UCSB Physical Facilities and the Chancellor’s Office.
“My biggest concern is for the safety of students,” Gastwirth said.
Several weeks ago, Gastwirth and a group of students walked around campus at night and marked poorly lit locations on a map. She said areas such as the stretch between the Arbor and Ellison Hall, as well as the path along the lagoon by the UCen, have insufficient lighting.
Gastwirth said she is working with Physical Facilities staff members who are already planning to replace the old round lights on campus with more efficient downward facing lights.
“Our goal is to write a resolution in support of what is being done and to urge the university to do more,” Gastwirth said. “They want student input so they can do a better job.”
Physical Facilities Associate Director George Lewis said he will take the suggestions produced by Gastwirth’s survey and bring them before the Campus Public Safety Committee for approval.
“I love the students to be proactive and bring these things to our attention,” Lewis said.
Besides poor lighting, Gastwirth said she is concerned with what she considers a low number of emergency phones on campus, as well as their somewhat obscure and unknown locations. She suggested the university add new phones in the area adjacent to Campbell Hall.
To gather additional student support, Gastwirth said she hopes to work alongside the A.S. Commission On Disability Access as well as Take Back the Night – a student committee through A.S. that seeks to decrease the number of sexual assaults on campus and create a support group for assault victims.
Several students walking around campus said they agree on the soundness of the proposed plan.
Third-year literature major and Manzanita Village Pendola House Resident Assistant Kara Wilson said she thought the pathway between Manzanita Village and the campus lagoon is too dark.
First-year business economics major Will Tanem said he personally feels very safe walking alone, but his female friends sometimes call him to walk them back to campus from Isla Vista at night.
Wilson said she thinks lighting is a major component of safety; she said a friend of hers once took a shortcut alone through a dark park in Isla Vista and was subsequently raped.