Public Safety responds to concerns of safety highlighted by student protest
Campus safety officers are making changes after a student petition demanded a list of safety measures that could be implemented on campus, such as more call button lights, better lit walkways, more night patrols, quick responses to calls for rides at night and more cameras in parking lots.
A recent crime that was committed close to campus sparked a student-led protest that prompted an ongoing conversation with Coastal’s growing concern of safety on campus.
The protest on Nov. 9 started on Prince Lawn and was led by freshman psychology major Ella Kensley. She said the protest was inspired by a discussion about feeling unsafe on campus. She said the purpose of the protest was to talk about the need for more on-campus safety measures that allow students to feel safer.
“Feeling safe is something we all deserve to feel,” Kensley said.
Robert “Bobby” Pellerin, major of operations at CCU public safety, said in response to the protest, the department is prioritizing the camera system, hiring more officers, and taking steps to improve communication in the future. He said he feels confident in the safety measures CCU already has in place but is open to improvements.
“I’d feel great if my kids were to choose to come to this campus as a student in a few years down the road when they are college-age, I would have zero concerns because I know what we do on campus,” Pellerin said.
CCU has over 1,800 cameras and 166 call boxes scattered across campus. Pellerin said the camera system is a priority because the department finds them extremely useful and more easily repairable than the call boxes. Fixing one call box can cost about $5,000.
There have been discussions with the director of public safety about implementing a public safety app for students. These apps have alert buttons that give students direct contact with local authorities such as public safety for emergencies.
Pellerin also said the department is improving its social media presence to aid in communication. Pellerin said the office will host “Coffee with a Cop” on Dec. 6 where students can talk about issues they see in the campus community with a public safety officer. He said this will be held in the rotunda of the Lib Jackson Student Union.