Students who are campus residents have grown increasingly concerned for themselves, their classmates and prospective students. Since the beginning of the academic year, many believe that there is anxiety on campus at night, spearheaded by limited parking due to construction and a shortage of additional parking in general. Additionally, a lack of lights and the recent incident which occurred earlier this year also contribute as dimensions to the concern.
Sam Adams is a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering. Adams has been living on campus since his first year. Adams observed that the U’s current parking construction has left many students frustrated regarding the increasing lack of vacant spots and concern for campus safety.
“Parking seems to be getting more and more strained on campus this year — it just seems to feel exacerbated,” Adams said.
The number of parking spaces and walking distance to students’ destination was a regular yet understandable irritant last year, but this semester, however, Adams explains that his friends and personal experiences with parking at night are now an existential burden coupled with paranoia.
He says that often many times, students have to park on campus after running errands such as grocery shopping and travel long distances via foot in the dark. “I need to park close to where I live — or have some sort of venue to feel safe getting home.”
Accountability and campus safety resource awareness from the U is one step, Adams said — but to ratify concrete applications could help to improve the dour experience entrenched in the campus environment of walking at night.
Ashli Young, a junior and major in nursing, says that a degree of guaranteed safeness has dropped in confidence among her roommates and herself. Young has lived on campus the entire duration of her studies.
“At this point, I just try to not go out at night,” Young admits. “I haven’t found a good solution yet. I haven’t used campus police yet, but I probably will use them a lot more now that parking is the way it is.”
According to Young, adjustments such as installing lights along campus paths, more cameras, an increase of campus police presence and even green-lighting a late-night shuttle beyond the current night shuttle could quell the fears that many resident students carry with them while walking.
Talking with roommates at Young’s residence, she says that there’s a distinction between safety and security. “Security is feeling safe, safety is being safe,” Young asserts. She says there is a moderate population of campus police near the Huntsman Trax Station, but a breadth of campus police spanning across residential communities could improve the students’ dismay of their safety.
Both Adams and Young explain that lights are another issue for many students living on campus. Walking long stretches in the dark from classes, errands or just their friends’ residences adds greatly to the existing concern.
On the U’s Commuter Services website, the Annex parking lot, located east of the Huntsman Center, is closed due to the widespread parking construction efforts from the U. The rest of the notice explains that it will be closed through 2020.