Emily Barber / The Daily Gamecock

Opinion: Expand campus call box coverage

Emergency call boxes are tools that the local police use to help protect University of South Carolina students. The call boxes are tall, have blue lights on the top and bear a red button. If a student is in an emergency, whether someone is following them, attacking them or something else, the student can hit the red button and police will rush to the scene. These are great for protecting students, especially freshmen who do not have cars and must walk at night. That is why they must be at all major places where freshmen walk.

The call boxes are placed all around campus and do a good job of covering most major places where freshmen walk. According to the University of South Carolina’s website, there are hundreds of boxes all across the campus. The university uses a four-quadrant system to organize the boxes across our vast campus. However, there was a bit of an expansion to the campus this past year that is not covered by the quadrant system.

The current freshman class included more students than the university expected, causing some freshmen to be housed off-campus. The Aspyre apartments are one of the places where freshmen are housed. I know this because it is where I, a freshman, live. While the university does a good job of providing buses to help with transportation, they do not run 24/7, and students often have to walk to campus.

I walk to and from campus a couple times a day on average. To give some perspective, a walk from Aspyre to the Honors Residence takes fifteen minutes. Half of the walk there, the part south of Strom Thurmond Wellness Center, does not have a sidewalk on the always-busy Assembly Street. Because I have personally had to make this walk to and from campus alone at night, I believe that emergency call boxes should be placed along the route to ensure student safety.

Walking alone at night can be dangerous, especially for women. Just last night I walked home in the dark from Russell House and passed multiple shady figures. I’ve been harassed by several people in the past, and while I personally carry a knife with me when I make the walk at night for my own protection, I know many freshmen are not as careful.

The lack of emergency call boxes on a walk that freshmen are forced to make in order to get home is irresponsible on the university's part. When the university places freshmen in off-campus housing, it should take the responsibility to help protect the students. Emergency call boxes are important for student safety, and the university needs to install them on the walk from campus to Aspyre.

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