MSA presidential slates address campus safety
Slates plan to make campus better lit and educate students about safe walks home.
Oct. 19, 2012
Spencer Maass and Shelby Catalano have various plans to improve campus safety, including better utilization of yearly campus Safety Walks.
Maass said MSA senators and volunteers take a Safety Walk each year to identify unsafe areas on campus, such as places with burnt out lights. However, he said often the information collected on these walks goes unused.
“The reports and paperwork from the walks that identify unsafe places get lost and nothing ever comes from the data,” Maass said. “We want to compile the data and use it for good.”
Maass said he and Catalano would report their findings from the Safety Walk to the MU Police Department instead of letting the data fall by the wayside. Additionally, he said he and Catalano would work with MUPD to try to cut down on the Clery Reports that students have been receiving by finding out what areas the most reports are coming from and boosting patrols in those areas.
He said they would also look into adding more blue lights around campus and increasing the lighting in parking garages.
“We would like to include more lights in the parking garages,” he said. “They aren’t lit very well, which provides more opportunity for something bad to happen.”
Through talks with students, Tom Wright and Bo Mahr said they have identified campus safety as a pertinent issue at MU. After speaking with one student concerned with the safety of parking lots during late hours, the slate wants to implement a greater number of response terminals in these often-dark areas, vice presidential nominee Mahr said.
“We encountered someone who, when they go out to the really far parking lots that you bus in from, there’s a not enough lighting and not enough emergency response terminals,” Mahr said.
Working closely with MU Police Department has already become an issue for Wright and Mahr. They noted the confusion that has occurred in the past between MUPD and an ordinance declaring marijuana a lowest-priority offense, presidential nominee Wright said, referring to a previous Maneater editorial.
Speaking to the Legion of Black Collegians prompted the slate to propose having close ties with student organizations and MUPD. This would avoid stereotyping on Clery releases, Wright said.
“We’d like to help foster talks with MUPD and different groups on campus,” Wright said.
Wright and Mahr also claim to be the only slate to suggest campus safety in any of the debates. Other slates are in the Missouri Students Association “bubble,” which has hindered their campaigns, Mahr said.
“I don’t think (the other slates) understand that a lot of the students, when you ask them, have good, effective and rational ideas about the campus,” Mahr said.
With the high number of Clery releases during the 2012 fall semester, Nick Droege and Zach Beattie said they want to make students feel safer with more education and better lighting.
“It’s hard to measure why the number of Clery releases is higher this year,” Beattie said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean our campus is less safe ... but it’s important to watch for (possible causes), look for trends and talk with MUPD to make sure the relationship between students and MUPD is a good relationship.”
Droege said they also want to educate students on safety programs like MUPD’s safe escort program, which offers a security guard as an escort to anyone who feels unsafe when returning home.
Another of Droege and Beattie’s campus safety goals is increasing lighting on campus.
As MSA director of student services, Droege led Safety Walks, which focus on finding and improving unsafe areas around campus. Based on this experience, Droege said he and Beattie want to increase lighting in ill-lit areas to make them safer to walk through at night.
Droege said educating students to be aware of their surroundings is also important for improving safety.
Increasing lighting and education are the two main things that Droege said he and Beattie are capable of promoting. Otherwise, Jimmy Hibsch, their campaign manager and former Maneater staffer, said they will work with the police — the experts on campus safety.
“(Campus safety) is something that (Droege and Beattie) can support,” he said. “They have the power to talk to students, which is something that MUPD has more of a difficult time (doing).”