Candidates for MSA presidency look to improve campus safety
Platforms include plans to expand or adapt TigerWatch, reduce speed limits and more.
Oct. 26, 2010
This is the fourth part in a series looking at the Missouri Students Association presidential slates and their platform positions. This article focuses on the candidates' positions on campus safety issues.
MSA presidential candidate Josh Travis and vice presidential candidate Michelle Horan plan to reduce the speed limit on College Avenue during class hours and expand and cultivate the TigerWatch program.
According to their platform, Travis and Horan will work with the Missouri Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on College Avenue between Rollins Road and Paquin Street to 25 mph between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
“There are a lot of kids crossing the road where there is not a crosswalk,” Horan said. “To put in another crosswalk, the speed limit has to be reduced.”
Travis and Horan also plan to expand TigerWatch, a patrol and walk home service that runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
“TigerWatch is the most important aspect of the safety platform,” Horan said. “Right now it is in the beginning stages, but we are seeing a need for it.”
TigerWatch recently adopted a direct phone number for students to call that will eventually be printed on the back of student ID cards. TigerWatch will also maintain a direct line to MUPD that will reduce officer response time, Horan said.
“We are seeing a need for (TigerWatch) on campus,” Horan said. “The more people that know about it, the more walk-homes we can make.”
MSA presidential candidate Eric Woods and vice presidential candidate Emily Moon would like to focus on making changes to Safety Walk and TigerWatch to improve student safety on campus.
Safety Walk is an annual walk where members of the Missouri Students Association and the Residence Halls Association walk through the campus at night looking for potentially threatening areas, such as potholes and poorly-lit areas.
Woods said Safety Walk needs more faculty and staff, administrators and students involved. He said he would also like to include the community in these safety efforts.
“As a student government, our job does not end on campus,” Woods said. “We can and must do more.”
Woods said he and Moon want to make an effort to involve landlords and community officials in a Safety Walk in east Campus.
“We will ensure that our (Department of Student Services) appointment will be able to liaise with both community leaders and the MSA Campus and Community Relations Committee to get the job done,” Woods said.
Woods said TigerWatch lacks a focused goal.
“It should be reorganized to serve the purpose of a safe walk program,” Woods said. “This is a service that it already provides, and has proven to be quite good at it, but we need to make this its primary directive.”
MSA presidential candidate Ben Hansen and vice presidential candidate Kaitlin Oxenreider plan to improve student safety on campus and Greek Town by implementing new technology and adapt already existing programs, such as TigerWatch.
“Ben and I believe TigerWatch is a good program, but the way it is implemented, and the excessive amount of student fees that are wasted in its production, need to be analyzed and improved upon if the program is ever to succeed,” Oxenreider said.
Oxenreider said she and Hansen feel MU is already a safe place but encourage feedback from students who may feel otherwise.
“We believe that campus safety is an important issue, but we feel as if the University of Missouri is safe,” Oxenreider said. “If students feel unsafe they should let us know what they would like improved and what they would like to see changed and or implemented.”
One thing Hansen and Oxenreider are looking into is potentially putting up security cameras in certain parts of campus to act as a reference when crimes are reported, Oxenreider said.
“Ben and I have mentioned putting a sort of ‘security camera system’ up in campus that is continually taping areas on campus and could be used as evidence in a crime, but would not be monitored 24/7 by (the University of Missouri Police Department),” Oxenreider said. “But we want to know what students would like to see in terms of safety rather than implementing something without input.”