MSA approves Tiger Watch

A neighborhood watch and crosswalk were proposed to improve campus safety.
The Missouri Students Association approved legislation to create a crosswalk on College Avenue to deter pedestrian-vehicle accidents. Six people have been involved in accidents between University Avenue and Rollins Road since 2006.

The Missouri Students Association Senate approved two pieces of legislation to improve campus safety this week.

"They both have roots in early last semester and they're now beginning to take form in legislation," Operations Committee Chairman Evan Wood said.

The legislation advocates the creation of a crosswalk on College Avenue and the creation of an ad hoc committee, creating a pilot program of Tiger Watch.

Tiger Watch, an ad hoc committee created by sophomore Josh Travis, aims to be a student run campus safety committee, which will be fully functional by fall 2010.

The crosswalk is in response to the six pedestrian-vehicle accidents that have occurred since 2006 on College Avenue between University Avenue and Rollins Road.

"There are pedestrians everywhere in the road during the day and stopping in the turn lane, so you can see why a lot of people get hit there," Wood said. "We want to eliminate or at least significantly decrease the number of traffic accidents there."

MSA had been considering a bridge or tunnel to make crossing the street easier, Wood said.

Mayor Darwin Hindman said in a meeting with MSA President Tim Noce he felt the project was too expensive considering students have never used them much in the past. The legislation shows student support for the crosswalk and transitively increases the chances of implementation by the city of Columbia.

Committee members hope to decrease crime rates around the more secluded, less traveled areas of campus.

"Personally, I often feel very uncomfortable walking through campus at night, especially from the library back to the sorority house, and I wanted to improve campus safety," Student Affairs Committee Chairwoman Michelle Horan said.

Travis said he pitched the idea to the MSA committees last semester. Travis and Horan aim to make it a part of MSA like STRIPES, the Wellness Resource Center and the Craft Studio.

As a part of the unfunded pilot for this semester, the committee itself will zone the campus. Zoning entails deciding where and how large the zones will be and what days of the week and time of night the committee should operate, Horan said. Eventually, the program could take the shape of the Safe Walk Home program that operates at other universities.

"We want to make sure we're building a program that works," Travis said. "My main concern is that we are not creating a program that is a secret police."

The committee will also be training with the MU Police Department and have a chance to go on patrol with them to get an idea of what their zones are now.

Travis said they aim to plan with residence halls and Greektown in a way that goes beyond installing cameras and blue lights.

We want to create a community that is more actively engaged in campus safety through the program, Travis said.

"We want signage to say this is a 'Tiger Watch Area' to deter the crime, like a neighborhood watch," Horan said.

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