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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Rectifying the Ridge: students, police, work together

By Paul Kelly

 

Ridgeway residents and campus community members are looking to increase dorm security. Students organized a safety walk in response to recent reports of lewd behavior, voyeurism and other crime on campus.

“We’re doing a safety walk, and just checking the perimeters to make sure things that should be fixed or need to be improved in terms of safety are looked at by administrators,” junior Jonathan Mao said. “Rather than just the RAs telling the administration that there is a problem, when they come out here and do it with us they can see that it is a problem.”

RA Directors Dong Vo (center, right) and Lizbeth Juarez (right) talk with Audrey Lutz (center, left) and Johnathan Mao after they surveyed the outsides of the on-campus residence halls. // Photo by Paul Kelly

Students, administrators and University Police walked the perimeters of on-campus housing on Wednesday, Nov. 17 to look for potential trouble spots, repairs and safety concerns.

Participants were issued maps of the buildings with checklists and encouraged to take notes and photos of any areas that raised concerns.

Sophomore Ridgeway resident Tatum Eames participated in the safety walk and said she believes it will prompt the university to make changes.

“I wanted to use my voice as a community member to do something about it,” Eames said. “Tonight is about seeing what is unsafe and getting validation that other people also think it’s unsafe.”

Another Ridgeway resident, sophomore Audrey Lutz, noted that seemingly small, everyday problems with the buildings could lead to potentially dangerous situations.

“I was just getting frustrated with the lack of night time security in the communities,” Lutz said. “There’s not enough lighting, and there are a lot of things that are really simple fixes that just aren’t getting addressed.”

Connor Garrels and Rowan Daetwiler check the security of a door on one of the residence halls. // Photo by Paul Kelly

Western Chief of Police Darin Rasmussen and Cpl. Joe Bailey counseled students on what safety hazards to look for. They told students most of their job is reactive after an incident occurs, but paying attention to these types of things can help prevent problems in the future.

“This is obviously not going to change the world, but it’s a good first step to start recognizing potential issues and places that are going to be hazardous,” Junior Ian Brumbaugh said as he made marks on his map. “If any changes are made to lighting, entry or exit points, or fall hazards, if there is at least one change, then it was worth it.”

While this is a small step, some students felt it was an important one toward better security.

“We are the people that know this community best, so if we don’t say something and care for it, then who will?” Eames said.

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