It's Time For UCLA to Step Up Their Safety

In early February, several reports were made about sexual assaults on the UCLA campus. One of the assaults reported by the UCLA police occurred on January 28th when a student was sexually assaulted by another student, after meeting for the first time off of a dating app. Another sexual assault occurred on February 2nd at an off campus apartment between students who had previously known each other. A third incident occurred on February 5th, “as the victim was walking southbound in the 600 block of Gayley Avenue next to the school's campus, according to a UCLA Police Department crime alert” (KTLA5). According to the UCLA crime report, the victim was sexually battered by this man; however, the victim did manage to get a photo of the perpetrator.

Recent attacks on and around campus act as a constant reminder of how important it is to make smart decisions when it comes to safety. As a student who oftentimes has to walk around campus at night, I always make sure to walk with a friend and never alone. It is also important to be aware of your surroundings at all times, and to walk in well-lit areas.

Many colleges and universities have installed these blue emergency light phones throughout campus. These emergency response systems provide students and faculty on campus with an immediate police response once pressing the button. Perhaps you may have noticed a couple of these blue lights on campus near Bruin Walk.

Before coming to UCLA, I attended TCU which has the blue light emergency system instilled. Wherever you are on campus, you are able to see at least one of these lights. At UCLA, I spend most of my time on North Campus and have yet to see one of these blue emergency systems.

The University of Central Florida has a total enrollment of about 66,183 students. According to the universities website, “while on campus, you are always within site of one of 229 ‘Blue Light’ emergency telephone” (UCF Police Department).

With a total enrollment of around 32,000 students, the University of Connecticut has “273 towers scattered across campus, and 56 more at the regional campuses, according to the UITS manager in charge of blue phones Michael Williams” (Daily Campus).

At Texas A&M, “there are 115 blue light phones located throughout the Texas A&M campus" (Texas A&M). The Texas A&M campus has a total enrollment of around 69,000 students.

According to UCLA’s UAS Handbook, Section 5 “There are 27 Emergency Reporting System stations (large dark blue telephone stations) located throughout the campus.” While UCLA’s enrollment is not quite as large as some of the universities mentioned above, it is still considered a fairly large campus with a total enrollment of around 45,000 students. To have only 27 of these blue light emergency systems does not seem efficient to student safety on campus.

Many campuses rely on these blue light emergency systems; however, several campuses have instilled the usage of more modern technology such as safety apps. In 2016, the “University of Colorado Boulder entirely removed the remaining blue phones on its campus after introducing a contracted security app called LifeLine Response” (Daily Campus). Fellow UC campus, “University of California, Davis, removed more than 100 outdated emergency phones in 2011 after installing a wireless 911 system on campus” (News & Record).

 While some campuses have chosen to replace the blue light emergency system with other wireless systems, the blue light system remains an effective effort to promote safety. “In 2012, Florida State University police credited a blue-light phone with helping officers catch a suspected rapist who attacked a student” (News & Record).

Regardless of whether a campus uses numerous blue emergency systems or a campus wide security app, UCLA should consider the recent events a wake-up call that our campus needs to take more measures when it comes to student’s safety.

 Photo Credits: Stanly Community College, LifeLine Response, LA Times, Joseph D. Kulisics, Free Range Kids