Opinion Staff Writer
From the blue emergency phones located around campus, to Rocky Shield, to the counselor on call, UNC Asheville does a good job of providing a wide range of safety resources depending on student needs.
However, not enough students know about many of these resources. Information about them is not easy to come by unless one searches with something specific in mind, such as the location of the Health and Counselling Center or Title IX information. Often, the information is spread through word of mouth rather than learned from official sources. UNCA’s safety precautions and protections are not brought up or announced as often as they could or should be, which puts students at risk.
When an emergency happens, searching “campus safety resources” is probably not the first thing on someone’s mind. In the heat of the moment, the student will often make a snap decision based on what they already know. When a student does not know what is available to them, dangerous outcomes may result.
Another issue is how far away campus police are situated from residents. While they used to be located in Vance Hall, they are now on the fringes of campus at Weizenblatt Hall. It is harder to locate and much less accessible for students. It also removes the police from the majority of the student body.
Many parking lots on campus lack suitable lighting as well. They are too dark to be safe at night. Students who have jobs at night, such as night assistants, have to walk through these parking lots late at night. Especially in the Founders parking lot, the emergency phones aren’t as easy to access. There is only one nearby and it is located behind the building and takes a while to get to. It’s not visible from the main entrance of Founders either. More safety measures in these locations would definitely act as a deterrent and keep students safe.
UNCA does have many good safety measures in place, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Easily accessible information, more emphasis on available resources and better lighting at night would go a long way toward student safety on campus.