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Saturday, October 24, 2020

University Police issue jaywalking tickets

By Mia Steben


Two Western University Police officers were handing out $68 tickets to jaywalkers on Thursday, April 12.  

University Police issued 23 tickets in total and gave some additional warnings, Paul Cocke, Western’s director of communications, said in an email.   

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The officers were located at the intersection of Bill McDonald Parkway and West College Way, near the Wade King Student Recreation Center.

“This location was chosen because it is a place where a significant amount of jaywalking occurs,” Cocke said.

He said they had pinpointed specific areas of increased pedestrian danger.

Two University Police officers write out a ticket near the Wade King Student Recreation Center on Thursday, April 12. // Photo by Mia Steben

One police officer was handing out a steady stream of tickets while the other looked toward the crosswalk.

A large sign left by University Police warned pedestrians of unlawfully entering the crosswalk when the red hand signal is shown or flashing.

According to the sign, this is in compliance with Washington State Legislation code RCW 46.61.060.

“Pedestrian safety has been a significant concern on campus for some time and has been a subject of discussion in prior meetings of the University’s Central Health and Safety Committee,” Cocke said. “The amount of jaywalking on campus has reached dangerous levels.”

One student was hit while crossing Bill McDonald Parkway near Birnam Wood, suffering a leg injury, on January 24, 2018.

Another student was hit by a vehicle near Ridegeway Kappa, suffering a severe brain injury, on October 27, 2017.

Sophomore Fatuma Musa was one of the students who received a ticket on Thursday.

Walking with a group of students near the rec center, Musa looked both ways before crossing the intersection street, only to be met by two officers who requested her state ID. Musa was fined $68 for jaywalking.

“I would like to see a warning or just letting us know this is a serious thing,” Fatuma said. “We understand that it is the law, but at the same time, so many students do it.”

Musa said the measures taken were unjust because only a few students were ticketed.

“It would be more fair if everyone knows about it and everyone gets the consequences for it, rather than just a few people they caught,” Musa said.

University Police put up this sign and handed out $68 tickets to jaywalkers at the intersection of Bill McDonald Parkway and West College Way. // Photo by Mia Steben

Sophomore Kai Bjarke was concerned about the University Police’s prioritization of issues on campus.      

“Their main thing was parking enforcement. They have a pretty strong presence with that,” Bjarke said. “I guess they felt in expanding their scope, they should focus on jaywalking, when we have many more pressing issues such as sexual assault, hate speech and antisemitism.”

Bjarke said it was appalling to use their resources on an issue that garners such a large fine. Bjarke said everyone can agree that no one wants to pay $68 for crossing a road that is safe.

The University’s Central Health and Safety Committee had previously discussed the subject of jaywalking and were concerned with the issue on campus, Cocke said.

By Thursday afternoon the officers had left.

On Friday, the sign cautioning people not to jaywalk was put back up, but no officers were at the intersection handing out tickets.



  1. I think that if you get a fine, for doing something you knowingly did, shut up and just pay it, yes there’s other stuff happening on campus but quit being such a baby and just address the concequences of your actions.. lol

  2. I understand why all of you are assuming that we are just griping about the situation because yes, there is a big white sign telling us that we will be fined if we jaywalk.

    However, before making assumptions that we are making this situation all about ourselves because of getting fined, you may not know what other vital issues have been ignored consistently over time on campus that has caused a lot more danger and harm than jaywalking.

    We are upset that the reported sexual assault cases are never handled or resolved (they even let a rapist charged with 4th degree sexual assault and went to JAIL for it back onto campus to complete his final quarter, ignoring the thousands of sexual assault survivors concerns about their safety when they took the time and courage to open up about their experiences to the admin and campus police). We are upset that a serial masturbator and peeping Tom have been getting away with sexual harassment and violating the privacy of many homes for MONTHS and literally no action has been taken.
    We are upset that death threats have been made to people of color on campus in Fall 2015 and all they did was write a letter about it rather than making steps to make the campus safer for students of color… oh and they let a white supremacist group come to campus to talk to us about why we should allow guns on campus right after the death threats were investigated. Admin and police have never brought it up or took any further action after finding out who it was. Many students of color dropped out because there was no further action or proof that their safety was a priority by campus police.

    There are several other issues that have been dangerous for many of the students on campus that keep getting put on the back burner. We are angry because they choose to prioritize their time handing out jaywalking tickets than addressing the issues that consistently happen that out us at risks and ignore us when we report it or voice our concerns.

    Please keep all of this in mind and try to put yourself in our shoes for a second before telling us that we need to grow up and deal with it. Even if any of this doesn’t change your mind, so be it. Just know that if we had the support of the off campus community, maybe they would take the bigger issues we face more seriously. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  3. The police are separate from parking enforcement. There is also no reason to think that in the middle of the day they are spread so thin that they can’t manage the other crimes cited while also enforcing this one. Do some actual research if you’re going to call yourself a journalist.

  4. Help me out with this please… Are you saying even though there is a BIG white sign there that literally states that you are breaking the law and spells out for you that what you are doing could get you a $68.00 ticket – you STILL do it. And then you complain about it. What is this world coming to? Show a little respect for yourself and others out on the road including the motor vehicles that have rights too. No matter what you all think – this world is NOT all about you!

    • I can help you out John. How about taking the perspective of a student who doesn’t have 70 dollars, who every day before April 12 has jaywalked and witnessed other students jaywalking that specific street because 1 it’s short, 2 there are no cars around, and 3 the red hand was BLINKING, so they proceeded to cross because 80% of our campus jaywalks there anyway. This student gets no warning, is expected to see the new sign in a crowd of people and gets a fine. The officers give no kind explanation to her or the Two other POC they spot in the crowd of students doing the same thing.
      Personally, I’ve never seen cops on campus besides giving parking tickets. Never for sexual assault, never for threats. With all due respect, the police, and the campus, should straighten their priorities.
      Hope that helped.

  5. I really thought that by the time you got to college a student should be able to read and exercise a little common sense judgement.
    So the police make a sign that states the law and the consequences of a violation of that law and you can see the police cars and the officers standing there. So you decide to cross anyway and you get a ticket. So it’s the officers fault that you got caught and got a ticket. That makes perfect sense. What a bunch of winers. Oh, you mentioned did they have something better to do? They can always have something better to do from what it is they are doing at the time. Let’s hope that it’s not a shooter on the campus because they will be the first ones to rush in and take down the shooter to save your life.

      • Bite me, John. This is something everyone does, even you, and the intersection the chose is NOT an area with a record of pedestrians being hit, but someplace they knew they could make money because it’s a common occurrence. If the road is clear and you need to get to class, you better believe a student will jaywalk. Heck, I saw one of the University police jaywalk on High Street just today, because that’s what people do when the road is clear.

  6. Great good to see WWU handing out tickets. Better than me running some one over. Stupid hurts in this case Stupid costs 68 dollars. Strong work WWU police

  7. I agree that sexual assault, hate speech, and antisemitism are all more important issues! However, safety and fairness are also important. I was driving and stopped at that intersection, but not one car was able to get through in spite of the green light because students were crossing right up until the light changed. I was worried an impatient driver in front of me might try to squeeze their way between pedestrians in the crosswalk and get someone hurt. I am glad the university is paying attention to this. I hope those students are able to get their fines removed or reduced, and that everyone is careful and shares the road at this intersection.

    • Thank you, Vickie, for at least sharing your opinion on why you feel this issue was important to address rather than responding by saying we don’t have any common sense or that we are a bunch of winers.

      At least you seem to be concerned for our safety, thank you for opening up the conversation in a more civil way.


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