Currently our campus is almost 26,000 students strong and predominantly female. Last week there was a sexual assault that took place in one of the busiest academic buildings on campus at 5pm. Unfortunately, there are currently few security cameras, and a startling lack of security presence on foot. Please help us change that!
As a reaction to the sexual assault on campus this past week and past attacks that may or may not have been reported, concerned students will be holding sexual assault awareness and education events as often as possible until notice is taken by those in charge. In addition, we will be handing out teal ribbons as a way to promote discussion about sexual assault, and as a means of showing support for survivors of assault. We will also be collecting suggestions and demanding better security measures on our campus.
One of our concerns is the incurrence of debt due to university spending that will cost students millions each year in the form of two new student fees to be instituted for "debt service" related to the new football stadium.** This is however only ONE point of concern. The Chancellor has allocated for $1 Million dollars in safety funds for concerns raised during Safety Walks, as well as $5 Million for other safety initiatives like the lighting up grade in some of our parkings decks. As is we have few cameras, inadequate lighting in many locations on campus, and a rather flawed transportation service after the buses stop running. As it currently stands, options for students to receive safe rides and proper escorts to their destination are limited, and exist only in locations that invite further attacks to happen. Issues like these seem to be indicative of a need for a little more funding in the area of safety.
These things need to change in order to create a safer environment for students. PLEASE help us raise awareness of this, and help us make UNCC into the safe and secure campus that we know it should be.I genuinely believe that with the cooperation of the Chancellor and others in leadership with students and staff UNCC's already wonderful campus will truly shine.
** Just a sidenote, we are well aware that the money for the stadium did not come from the same pool of funds as that of the safety budget. We are not trying to imply that in any way.
One thing that seems to escape the media's attention which bears repeating over and over is our readiness to agree with the University on the positive intent of its current safety measures. UNCC's campus is safer than it was ten years ago or even five years ago. These are not small accomplishments and our intent never was to trivilialize these accomplishments.
What we want more than anything is to push for more transparency in how the school is handling our safety, more student involvement, better education of students on the measures currently in place, and working together to help ease the fears of students and faculty. The outpouring of support from students, faculty, and the community has been wonderful. We appreciate all of your help so far in bringing these concerns to light, and we hope that in some way this can serve as a channel of communication to bring any concerns about safety into the open.
Earlier this year, the University released a report on campus safety that can be found at this link. While we suggest reading the ENTIRE report to educate yourself on the work the University has already done, pages 58 and 78 summarize Student and Faculty concerns respectively. It goes without saying that the items we have listed in the petition letter below match almost verbatim with the report's findings. It is because of this that we will continue to push for greater awareness of these concerns, and work to develop a forum where students and staff may be actively engaged.
This is our campus, and we want nothing more than to feel safe and to enjoy the beautiful campus that we have been provided. Please let us help ourselves, the students of future years, and the local community.
-Numerous places on campus, including in front of Fretwell, where lighting on the walkways is often either off or only partially working after dark. This provides numerous blind spots that need to be addressed.
-A lack of security cameras in the majority of the buildings. This is an upgrade that could easily be considered a far better reason for tuition hikes than to pay off $40.5 million in borrowed money. In addition, there are NUMEROUS grants available for better safety measures on college campuses. One such program, Community Oriented Policing Services/COPS has invested nearly $905 Million in our country's schools and universities to implement better safety measures.
-A Safe Ride system that becomes incredibly sparse after sundown when it is most needed. In addition, the locations designed for pickup by Safe Ride are in areas far removed from heavy foot traffic and are only checked every twenty minutes or so if that. Waiting in remote areas by oneself for what seems like an eternity is far from comforting for students. To schedule a pickup, students must call and arrange at least 24 hours ahead of time, something that is downright impossible for those late night situations that arise and one truly needs a secure escort.
-Finally, one of the biggest points of discussion has been the lack of a noticeable security presence on campus. Patrol units circling the perimeter of the campus are helpful, but are far removed from the areas that need the most attention. Areas with heavy foot traffic where the students and community members spend the majority of their time offer the biggest possibility for things to go wrong. An increased foot patrol of either paid security or police would be a welcome and comforting change to the campus at large, as well as a more than justifiable reason for increasing fees.
It is our intent with these petitionary letters and peaceful campus demonstrations to raise awareness about the current state of safety on the UNCC campus. What we are asking for is a genuine consideration of the safety measures currently in place, as well as transparency by the school leadership in dialogues with students and staff about ways to make our school better. We all love this campus, and either attend ourselves or know someone who does. It is our hope that attacks like the one in Fretwell, and the others that have taken place on campus will one day be a thing of the past.