Paul moves to install emergency phones in Greektown

The MSA president will meet with Greek Life to discuss the phones.

Missouri Students Association President Jordan Paul took the first steps this week toward advancing his plan to install emergency telephones in Greektown neighborhoods near the outskirts of campus.

The phones would connect directly to MU Police Department to allow students to report emergencies. Paul said he will ask for money in his first funding request to install phones at three locations: along Burnam Avenue at Richmond Avenue, at Providence Road and near the intersection of Rollins Road and Fifth Street.

Paul said he would not have any reliable estimates for the projects costs until he meets with the Division of Information Technology today. Greek Life Coordinator Janna Basler said she will meet with Paul on Thursday to discuss the plan.

Paul said he plans to get money for the project from the Student Fee Capital Improvement Committee. The committee advises Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs on the allocation of funds from the capital improvements part of the student activities fee for projects larger than those funded by the Student Organizations Allocation Committee that typically gives money to student organizations.

Paul said the overlapping interests of Student Affairs, MSA and the Greek councils make forming a plan particularly difficult.

"This is one of the larger political minefields in student government because there are so many interests involved," Paul said.

He said he would also have to consult with Department of Campus Facilities and CenturyTel, the university's telecommunications provider, to discuss the project's feasibility and with the MU Police Department and the Columbia Police Department to work out which agency would be the first responder to emergencies at those phones.

The biggest point of contention is the phones' cost, Paul said. If the phones were simply attached to their own poles, wire would have to be run from the phone to the nearest building with telephone service, greatly increasing the cost.

Paul's plan would have the emergency phones attached to telephone poles already installed near the proposed locations. The emergency phones could then use the wire already used by regular telephone service, cutting the cost of the extra wire.

"It's something I've heard talked about for a number of years and something I think we can do," Paul said.

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