Construction hazards a concern during Campus Safety Walk

Five MUPD officers also attended the walk.

The Missouri Students Association and the Residence Halls Association hosted their annual Campus Safety Walk on Thursday night to assess potential hazards to students that wouldn’t be easily identified during the day.

Various student groups and MU administrators participated in the safety walk in order to help identify safety issues around campus. MSA, RHA, the MU Police Department and Campus Facilities were all represented at the safety walk.

MSA President Tim Noce said the event allows for students and staff to help identify ways to diagnose and fix problems found around campus.

“We look for things that can be improved on campus, whether that be adding lighting to some dark areas or even as far as finding out that a foundation is cracked on a building,” Noce said. “We just look for ways that the campus can be improved.”

Kaitlin Oxenreider, director of the Department of Student Services and MSA vice presidential candidate, has hosted the event the past three semesters. She said problems with roads and sidewalks are some of the biggest issues identified during the safety walk.

“There’s a lot of sidewalk cracks,” Oxenreider said. “Especially with the construction now, there’s quite a big problem with potholes. They can be harmful to students, especially those on bicycles, so that’s what we really look for.”

Members of MSA and RHA led four different walks around campus, covering areas that included residence halls, dining halls and major campus landmarks such as Faurot Field, Peace Park, Memorial Union and Jesse Hall.

“It’s sort of a way to put yourself in that position,” RHA Programming Chairwoman Natasha Desai said. “You normally don’t really think about safety when you’re just walking around during the day.”

Desai said last year’s walk revealed poor lighting around Stankowski Field.

“I know last year when I did it we were walking the path between the Student Recreation Complex and Stankowski, and it was at night,” Desai said. “That was when we realized there weren’t a lot of lights there.”

The distribution of emergency blue lights found across campus was also examined during the safety walk, RHA Vice President Lauren Thomas said.

“One thing we talked about in our Residential Safety Committee in RHA that we’re going to keep our eyes open for is the blue lights,” Thomas said. “I know that from anywhere you stand on campus you’re supposed to be able to see at least one blue light, and we just wanted to check on that and make sure that’s the way it is.”

Five MUPD officers attended the safety walk in order to answer questions from students and staff. MUPD Capt. Brian Weimer said police can do their job better when they receive frequent feedback about safety issues from members of the MU community.

"Students or faculty and staff that walk across campus see things differently than we do," Weimer said. "They see it from different angles and at different times than we do. Our 35 officers can't be everywhere on campus, so if everybody just does their part and expresses concerns, it gives us the ability to get it taken care of and make them feel safer."

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