Replace Outdated Pub Safety Phone System with Accessible, Touchscreen Technology

Replace Outdated Pub Safety Phone System with Accessible, Touchscreen Technology

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Thomas Dessoye started this petition to Villanova University Community and

Created by SGA Class of 2024 Senator Thomas Dessoye, co-sponsored by SGA Mission and Social Justice Committee members: Former Athletics Senator Joseph D’Antonio, Sciences Senator Carlos Garriga, Disability Services Senator Liam Holland, and Chairman & Health Promotion Senator Derek Lattmann. Also co-sponsored by Athletics Senator Tiane Parris, VSB Senator Elizabeth Vaughn, Engineering Senator Andrew Kline, Class of 2024 Senator Preston Muñoz, and Class of 2023 Senator Jose Garcia.

Within the 2020-2021 academic year at Villanova University, there has currently been four prominent, reported cases of sexual violence on campus. The cases were notified to the Villanova community on September 16th, 2020, October 20th, 2020, and March 3rd, 2021. Unlike the first two occurrences where only one female resident was assaulted by one male, the most recent report stated that four resident female students were affected by the transgressions of the same known male in University residence halls, where the complaints ranged from non-consensual touching to non-consensual sexual intercourse. Following this report in the same email, a separate report from the Bryn Mawr Hospital Emergency Department informed the Department of Public Safety that a female student was treated for a sexual assault committed by a male which she knew. On March 16th, 2021, a Villanova University sophomore was charged with indecent assault and harassment after another female student at the university filed a report with campus police following news coverage of his earlier arrest. Privilege and identity do not excuse sexual violence at a university known for prestige. Our college is being influenced by the tragedy of senseless, sexual violence, and our students deserve better.


Throughout campus, the GAI-Tronics phone box systems within the residence halls are one of the closest methods to get into contact with the Department of Public Safety about SA, besides resources such as the other blue light call boxes outside of the buildings, apps such as Nova Safe & SAVUR, the SARC hotline, and the health center. Specifically, there are 24 on South Campus, 27 on Main, and 32 on West. With each phone box costing approximately $1,003.36, the Department of Public Safety’s Chief David Tedjeski has said, “Blue light phones, pre-dated cell phones are used less and less frequently on college campuses. We receive very few calls on Blue Light phones and have found people using the Nova Safe app more and more.” That being said, there should be a more enhanced, accessible touch screen system with resources preprogrammed into the technology to replace the phone boxes.


This project is for students to have immediate, approachable access to the Department of Public Safety within their hall in case their cellular device is dead, meaning that they cannot access alternatives such as Nova Safe from their phone. In addition, the pre-dated phone system requires one to project their voice and identity to others in order to be heard across the line for safety, making a student even more vulnerable. With a modernized system such as an iPad with these apps embedded into the device, one can discreetly type in their report for help and immediate assistance. A smart device such as an iPad would also be financially cheaper in contrast to the price of the GAI-Tronics system. As opposed to a $1,003.36 phone box, a standard iPad model would cost approximately $329, according to Apple’s website. Having a touch screen system such as an iPad implemented into the wall where the current phone boxes are would require a wall mount, which would cost $120.99 on Vidabox. Overall, this new system would be roughly $450, without taxes, being substantially feasible.


This design intends to provide every floor of a residence hall access to this proposed method. For example, the second floor of McGuire Hall does not have a pre-dated phone, while the first and third floor does. Similarly, out of the 50 rooms per floor in Stanford Hall, there is only one one phone system per floor for students to access. On the Main Campus, there is only 1 in Simpson Hall on the second floor, despite there being 3 floors. In Fedigan Hall, there are phone boxes in the stairwell of the second and third floors, but no access on the first floor. Like Fedigan, Delurey Hall contains 1 on the basement floor, 1 on the first and second floor stairwell, but none on the third floor. On West Campus, there is only 1 phone system on the entire first floor of St. Mary’s. If this is how Villanova will continue to choose to protect its students, then it is inadequate, ineffective, and almost obsolete.


We the students deserve a modernized, more secure network to prevent this frequent pattern of sexual violence at Villanova University. We, as a community, need to demand further action from the University. It is simply not enough to just allow time to heal all wounds. There needs to be change at Villanova to make the lives of students ultimately safer and satisfied. From 2015 to 2018, the rate of undergraduate male students on campus who experienced sexual contact without their consent rose 2%, from 2.7% to 4.7%, while female students went from 15.4% to 15% according to Villanova’s Sexual Violence Climate Survey for Students. However, these numbers do not represent our current environment since it has been 3 years since the last survey. Sexual transgressions do not deserve to have a consistent pattern on a campus which promotes truth, unity, and charity. With a new system, sexual violence will not end, but it will at least save more students from trauma and violence.

 

 

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