From the Editor: Student safety needs upgrade
Students may not necessarily be looking over their shoulders as they walk across campus because Rider has a good safety record. But some further precautions could definitely improve the feeling of security that makes Rider so welcoming.
The first safety hazard on the Lawrenceville campus comes not from outside of the campus boundaries, but from speeding students. A drive around the campus reveals that speed-limit signs can be found only at the main and south entrances. They read 15 MPH, a rule that is far from enforced. It would be great to see a few more speed limit signs around campus.
However, the key to preventing the path surrounding the campus mall from turning into a racetrack is enforcement. Public Safety has to take action to stop speeders before someone is seriously injured.
The potential problems continue as the hunt for a parking spot begins. Rider’s parking lots are systems of intersecting rows governed by no signs or rules dictating the right-of-way.
Both of the parking lots near the south entrance have three lanes that all meet in one place, creating opportunities for frantic students focused on finding an empty spot to crash into someone or something. It is simply up to the judgment of each driver to keep an eye out for potential danger and make the right move.
Because there are no signs or parking lot rules of conduct to follow, there is no way to determine who is at fault in a potential collision at these intersections. This issue could be resolved by making the rules clear with yield or stop signs.
Another easy tweak that could greatly improve the overall safety of the campus is the addition of more security phones. These devices are marked by a blue light and can be used to quickly contact Public Safety in the event of an emergency. The Lawrenceville campus has 49 security phones, while Westminster has six.
These phones can be found throughout the Lawrenceville campus, including every residence hall, nearly every academic building and Moore Library, to name a few locations. Most of the phones are sensibly placed toward the main entrance of the campus, but become scarcer as Route 206 becomes distant.
While these security phones are a great safety feature, many fail to serve their purpose because of their obscure placement. For example, phones can be found at the back entrances to Fine Arts, Memorial Hall and the Science building. This may help anyone near those designated parking lots, but does little for those traveling through the academic quad, which is surprisingly devoid of phones.
The trek to transportation for students and faculty can be lengthy, and rather dark at night. If trouble arose in the parking lots near the south entrance, the closest safe haven may be the Public Safety building or the Bart Luedeke Center. This is not in any way helpful to anyone walking to or from vehicles.
Some locations that are in need of security phones include the commuter and resident parking lots, the front entrances of the lacking academic buildings, the Student Recreation Center and the bridge near Centennial Lake. Danger knows no limits or boundaries. Therefore, Rider should take precautions to provide safety to students in all corners of the campus.
A final way to improve the safety of the Lawrenceville campus would be to brighten it up at night. While lighting has improved considerably in recent years, there are still areas of the campus that get a little dark and creepy, including the bridge near Centennial Lake, Fine Arts and the Bart Luedeke Center.
Rider could invest in solar-powered outdoor lighting. Lawrenceville already has solar street lights. Not only are these lights eco-friendly, but they also stay lit during power outages. This would be a great way to show visitors that our campus is working to be both green and safe. If possible, even the new security phones could use solar energy.
Rider’s campus may feel generally safe, but some simple tweaks can help ensure that the university’s safety record remains clean and its students remain secure.
The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News.
This week’s editorial was written by Copy Editor Sarah Bergen
Printed in the 3/26/14 edition.