MSA candidates present safety reforms
Ideas for increased safety include more lighting and extra crosswalks.
Oct. 17, 2008
This is the first part in a series looking at Missouri Students Association presidential slates and their platform positions. This issue focuses on campus safety. Tuesday's issue will examine the slates' positions on the MSA budget. The election is Nov. 10-12.
Campus safety is a top priority for MSA presidential hopeful Joe Fessehaye and running mate Lindsey Abell.
"It is always sad to see the rare (Clery) report e-mails that the student body gets about one of our peers being in a dangerous situation," Fessehaye said. "However, we like where Mizzou is going with the safety precautions already in place."
Fessehaye said he and Abell would gladly take any suggestions about improving campus safety in the future.
Already, the pair received a few suggestions from students about campus safety. One change Fessehaye and Abell are looking into is placing an extra crosswalk across College Avenue. There is no safe way to cross College Avenue between Rollins Street and University Avenue, Fessehaye said, and many students opt to cross the street illegally rather than to walk to the crosswalk. He and Abell are willing to talk to administrators and MU Police Department officials to see if this is feasible, he said.
Fessehaye and Abell are exploring options for securing better lighting around campus, especially where students park their cars in the evenings.
"It has been brought to our attention that there are poorly-lit areas on campus which are detrimental to those who work late or study late on campus," he said.
MSA presidential candidate Jordan Paul placed campus safety first when he put together his four-point platform. Paul, who selected Colleen Hoffmann as his running mate, said as MSA president he would increase the number of cameras in parking garages.
Paul said because there are more incidents reported in parking garages than in residence halls, it makes more sense to put security cameras in the garages too.
Paul, who as Department of Student Services director has worked with STRIPES in the past, said he would expand the program during his time in office.
Paul noted that 19-year-olds can now drive for STRIPES, which could result in a two to three times increase in volunteers.
"But it won't happen unless STRIPES has the cars for more volunteers to use," he said.
Presidential candidate Phyllis Williams, who is running with vice presidential candidate Jonathan Snipes, said she feels as a student it is inappropriate for her to come up with solutions for safety programs when she does not have all the information from every aspect. She would rather vocalize the concerns of students instead.
"Me presenting the problem is my job first then it's for the experts to come up with a solution that addresses all of the problems," she said.
During the campus safety walk last year, participants found a blue light emergency phone that did not work. Williams said she is more interested in community involvement to deter crime than blue lights. She cited two recent muggings on Francis Quadrangle, where blue lights are installed.
"I would like the things that we have already spent money on to work," Williams said.
Ask the expert
MUPD Capt. Brian Weimer said all the candidates' plans for improving campus safety sound feasible.
Weimer referred to an increase in cameras and lighting as further resources that could aid in investigations or prevent a crime from happening.
He also said the crosswalks will be an effective way to promote safety in well-trafficked areas. Weimer said the crosswalk would have to be approved, and the timeframe for this would depend on what type of crosswalk is required. Former MSA President Rachel Anderson led efforts to have the crosswalk at College and University avenues installed.
Weimer said the proposed plans are feasible if funding is available and the need is determined.