As of Oct. 10, three Missouri Students Association presidential slates have confirmed their candidacy. Although slates Xavier Billingsley and Helena Kooi, Everett Bruer and Lexie Cartee and Greg Loeffler and Lauren Damico each have their own platforms, each slate share goals related to campus safety.
As part of their campaign platform for campus safety, Xavier Billingsley and Helena Kooi plan to maintain campus safety by strengthening relationships with local officials.
Billingsley said the MU Police Department is making great strides to get active in the MU community.
“We really want MUPD to have an active role in the community,” Billingsley said. “I think one big thing for our student body is for us is to regain our trust in officials like MUPD. We want to make sure that we have a positive relationship with MUPD and that we work with them as much as possible.”
Part of former MSA President Jordan Paul’s platform while in office was to install additional blue light safety phones in Greektown. The issue surrounding blue light emergency phones has attracted Billingsley’s attention, but the candidate said the lights are an issue that should be decided by students.
“We have a great blue light program,” Billingsley said. “I know there’s been a question of blue lights being expanded into the Greek community. That option was explored during the Paul/Hoffman administration and pretty much failed because Greek students didn’t want blue lights in their community.”
In 2009, two blue lights were added in Greektown. According to Maneater archives, the phones cost MU $25.25 per month.
“I do think the issue should be reopened,” Billingsley said. “At the same time, with the high use of technology it is a tough debate. But again I personally believe that the blue lights are something that provide that extra safety needed on our campus.”
Everett Bruer and Lexie Cartee plan on adding language to the M-book addressing sexual misconduct and implementing a safe walk home program.
“Campus safety is an issue that I care about because I believe all students should feel safe here," Cartee said in an email. "We have identified goals and now we can start working toward them."
Cartee said the M-book’s language is too vague when it comes to identifying sexual misconduct.
“It makes more sense that (it) would say, 'No sexual misconduct will be tolerated, period,'” she said.
“We need to change it so there’s actually language that pertains to sexual misconduct,” Bruer said. “Lexie’s really committed to working on something like that.”
The Bruer/Cartee slate said they would also add language about hate crimes to the M-book.
“They are not mentioned in the standard of conduct and that needs to be changed,” Cartee said.
As for their safe-walk-home service, Bruer said he would work on forming a foundation for the program.
“We’re going to start off with something simple, and then after that we can add on,” he said.
Bruer said getting student feedback on the program would be crucial for its success.
“I think (not doing that) is what has kind of failed and doomed other similar programs like this,” he said.
Cartee said the service would make students feel more comfortable on campus.
“I believe in preventative measures and by providing a resource for students to walk in a group, they will be more safe,” she said. “There is strength in numbers.”
Along with diversity and transportation, Loeffler and Damico have incorporated safety in their MSA election campaign platform.
Specifically, the two said they want to explore the addition of blue lights to Greektown and to work with the MU Police Department more.
Loeffler has worked with area law enforcement during his time with MSA as part of Campus and Community Relations Committee and as the Department of Student Services Director. He has talked to the chiefs of police from both CPD and MUPD.
“We talked about what the issues are facing students,” Loeffler said. “Columbia just (does not) have the problems other schools and college towns have. However, nothing’s perfect.”
On Sunday afternoon, a CLERY release from MUPD went out to students describing a “strong armed robbery” that morning by the Natural Resources building. However, there are blue lights along the south side of the building where the incident occurred, Loeffler said.
“Blue lights are not the end all, be all,” he said. “There needs to be more.”
Loeffler and Damico feel it is important for blue lights to be placed in Greektown. Greektown follows the same rules as campus, but does not have the security benefits, Damico said.
“Greektown is under the purview of the city not MU,” Loeffler said. “It requires (City) Council approval and city money.”