Mar 10, 2014 9:31 PM by Dave Fields

Construction on campus prompts student safety concerns

Members of University of Louisiana student government are beginning to express concern for the welfare of student pedestrians who are forced to detour around several construction areas on campus.

"Construction on campus is presenting safety concerns for students taking different routes on campus late at night," said Student Government Association (SGA) representative Brandon Verrett, who chairs a student safety committee. Verrett said that he is especially concerned about detours necessitated by students who are forced to walk around the construction areas at Rougeau Hall, the Student Union, and in the quadrangle.

The university already has taken some measures to address these concerns, reports University Police (UP) spokesperson Sgt. Billy Abrams, who said that "the last lighting survey done by the police department was at the beginning of February 2014." Abrams said that UP completes these surveys in conjunction with facility management, which handles "repair, replacement of bulbs and or other adjustments" of campus lighting.

University Police also released a couple of maps illustrate preferred detour routes that pedestrians may follow. (Maps pictured below.)

Abrams said that "lighting is routinely addressed by public safety and facility management" that also includes a blue lighting system. According to University Police, work orders on lighting have been completed as recently as Feb. 26.

"The university has 54 code blue poles campus wide. They are all networked together and automated routine checks are done regularly by the system to ensure they are working. When a problem arises, these are addressed by a local contractor," explained Abrams.

In addition to lighting, a new, free smartphone app has enabled users "to create a virtual safety net of friends, family and University Police," according to a press release. The application, described as a "virtual escort", is provided by Rave Mobile Safety, the same company that provides the university's emergency notification system at no cost to anyone who has both a ULL email address and a smartphone.

So far, more than 500 students have signed up for the app, said Abrams.

David Neef, SGA president, said providing the app has been a long-term goal.

"We wanted to make sure our students feel safe wherever they are. This app can also be used in an emergency to quickly contact University Police or 911. And, it's a tool that enables the user to anonymously report anything suspicious to police," Neef said.

Abrams also advised that students may call (337) 262-1740 for "a safety escort van to provide safety transport on campus."



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