Students raise concerns about campus safety, walking on campus at night

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Coming home from classes or work late at night poses fears for some Kansas State students walking in the dark.

Grace Mernagh, freshman in architecture, spends a lot of time on campus late at night because of her time-consuming major. While she doesn’t necessarily feel unsafe on campus, she does feel paranoid while walking home alone at night from the architecture building.

“I do believe that having more lights on campus would make me less paranoid,” Mernagh said.

Some students, such as sophomore in education Ryleigh Diskin, choose to call family members to distract themselves on their walk home.

“Freshman year, I walked home alone late at night on campus four times a week to get back to my dorm,” Diskin said. “I knew that I was safe, but I still called my mom every time I was walking alone because it was very dark and I did not like how dark it was.”

With COVID-19 restrictions lifting and buildings staying open later, some for 24 hours, some people believe the university needs to reanalyze its need for more lights.

“Freshman year was already stressful, but having to deal with late nights walking home in the dark just added on more stress,” Mernagh said. “The issue of needing more lights on campus really affected students living in the dorms, and most of the time that means freshman.

Andy Thompson, senior associate dean and director of student life, said Rave Guardian — an app run by the K-State Police Department to promote student safety — has an easy layout that allows users to find what they need quickly.

The app has numerous features, such as a chat feature that allows users to chat directly with a K-State dispatcher, a safe walk feature where users can pick family and friends to share their location with and a call K-State Police feature that allows users to place a call directly to an officer and have it pinpoint their location to the dispatcher when they make the call.

“Safety is everyone’s job,” Thompson said. “When you’re walking on campus, whether it’s walking in pairs, using this app, being aware of your surrounding or not being afraid to report something that may be suspicious, these are all things that go into helping keep our K-State community safe on campus.”

Students can send in work orders through K-State facilities when they see anything from a burnt out light bulb or a spot that is noticeably less bright than other spots. K-State facilities will then address the concern and fix the issue. Students who send in the order will get updates through their university accounts to make sure it is fixed.

The Wildcat Walk program is another option for students, as well as the emergency blue safety lights in place around campus.

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