by Sarah Willson
Central Connecticut State University’s Student Government Association is working toward initiating heavier safety measures across campus for this upcoming month and beyond.
According to Victor Constanza—SGA senator and chair of the Student Life Committee—the idea to implement new safety measures on campus came after the fall 2017 semester, when the conversation regarding sexual assault victims opened up in the SGA meeting room.
After talking with alleged victims and “other groups,” it was decided that it would be of benefit to both students and faculty to provide more lighting and more cameras throughout the campus area.
“When I became chair of Student Life [Committee], I wanted to work on more policy driven things,” Constanza said. “One of the things we wanted to do with the police was increase victim advocacy. We wanted to do more blue lights, we wanted to do more with advertising for Livesafe, we wanted to do more patrolling and have police officers stay in one area [on campus], especially at night and on weekends.”
Constanza then said he had approached Dr. Richard Bachoo, Chief Administrative Officer for the university, requesting these changes.
Some CCSU students, such as sophomore Yara Ibrahim, supported Constanza’s requests, believing that CCSU police must have a heavier presence around the campus.
“I guess you can say that sometimes inside the campus is quiet, maybe a little too quiet,” Ibrahim said in regards to how she felt walking back to her car from past night classes she used to attend. “More lighting would be good.”
Kiana Walker, a senior at Central, says that while she has not heard of any safety issues on campus, in her mind, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
“[CCSU Police is] present, so I haven’t had any major issues with safety so far. Still, there can be more lighting,” Walker said. “Of course it would be a beneficial thing.”
More lighting was one of the biggest things Constanza advocated for around the Student Center Circle and the “up-the-hill” basketball court. However, due to the construction taking place near the court, Constanza is unsure of if and when more lighting will be put in.
According to Constanza, it is believed that “everything should be good with increased lighting and cameras” by this upcoming February.
However, as of now, Constanza said that he is waiting for a response from the CCSU Police Department regarding heavier patrol.
“One of the biggest things we saw in the survey [the SGA put out] is students thinking there isn’t enough patrol on campus,” Constanza said. “That’s something we really want to take on.”
Despite this, Constanza said there is no guarantee for all of this, as increasing police presence on campus could mean a blow for the budget.
More than anything, the drive for all this, Constanza said, is simply for the safety and concern of CCSU students.
“We, as the student government, have noticed more activism for victim advocacy on and off campus,” Constanza said. “We wanted to take an initiative to work and increase security.”
Aside from this, Constanza said that the SGA is going to be stepping out and doing “a lot” more with victim advocacy.
“Next week we have some people coming to the community to talk about what kind of program they want to do [to make the campus safer],” Constanza said. “We’re also thinking of putting plaques on every dorm room [that] would have information for victim advocacy and information for wellness services and counseling.”
Still, Constanza said he is most concerned with making sure students are aware and know how to use certain resources on campus, such as the Office for Victim Advocacy, the campus’ police station and more.
“A lot of students don’t know what they can do [with the resources] on campus,” Constanza explained. “We’re trying to change that because the services are there. I feel like there has to be a better job done when it comes to awareness.”
As for implementing new emergency procedures, such as lockdowns and fire drills, Constanza said it has not officially been on the agenda.
“We haven’t talked about it,” Constanza said. “It certainly is an idea though.”
Above all, Constanza said that while he does believe CCSU has done a good job of making the campus a safe space, there is always room for improvement.
“Just because something is good doesn’t mean we can’t make it better,” Constanza said. “With everything that we’re doing, my goal is for students to feel safe and be aware of their resources.”