IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Results of UCSU safety survey help to guide safety initiatives
On Aug. 20 CU-Boulder released results from the University of Colorado Student Union (UCSU) spring 2009 safety survey and announced a number of new safety initiatives. The survey was conducted to gather information to aid in the design and implementation of future strategies for increasing campus and community-wide safety, according to UCSU Tri-Executive Tom Higginbotham.
"We're focusing our efforts on strengthening the relationship between UCSU and the administration, which will help us to tackle these and other tough issues with improved communication, collaboration and coordination," Higginbotham said.
In conjunction with UCSU, the Safety Initiatives Coalition, a collaborative group of representatives from both CU and city of Boulder organizations, conducted the online survey in March of this year. The organization intends to make the survey an annual event.
In the survey, 89.3 percent of respondents reported feeling "very safe" or "somewhat safe" on campus and 74.4 percent of respondents reported feeling "very safe" or "somewhat safe" in the community surrounding campus, according to Eva Hueber, who was the UCSU director of neighborhood/city relations at the time of the survey and who oversaw its compilation.
The survey was answered voluntarily by 2,345 students, faculty and staff, but the sample was not representative, Hueber said. Female respondents outnumbered male respondents two to one and likely influenced the results.
When asked to list how they could feel safer on campus, respondents commonly requested increased lighting and police presence, and additional options for late-night transportation and parking. "We've identified several ways to make better use of existing infrastructure while at the same time provide safer options for students," said Frank Bruno, vice chancellor for administration. "The student government and the Safety Initiatives Coalition have played a key role here, helping us to identify potentially unsafe areas on campus in terms of lighting, foliage and other factors."
With the Preventative Maintenance Program managed by Facilities Management, the campus is divided into lighting zones. Under a new monthly evaluation schedule, a work request is automatically generated for an electrician to check all of the lights in the scheduled zone.
"We had been checking these areas, but on an irregular schedule," said Bruno. "The students were helpful in identifying that the irregular evaluation schedule was having a possible impact on safety, so we're grateful to them for helping us make that improvement."
The CUPD, in collaboration with UCSU, also is considering a campus safe transportation pilot program to increase security presence throughout campus while simultaneously providing transportation for members of the campus community engaged in late night academic or work-related activities.
In order to address concerns about late night parking options, Parking and Transportation Services is reviewing options for parking near Norlin Library to accommodate the library's new hours. Possibilities include a late night parking permit for nearby lots, extending the hours of the Euclid Avenue Autopark and providing short-term, after hours parking along Colorado Avenue, Bruno said.
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