Student Senate unanimously approved a Senate Resolution (SR) that addressed their constituents’ concerns regarding campus lighting and safety on April 25. The (SR) encourages the Valparaiso University Police Department (VUPD) to take various measures for student safety, particularly near the sorority housing complex and the freshman parking lot (Lot 37).
At-Large Senator Katelynne Hillebrand, At-Large College of Nursing and Health Professions Senator Shiya Kamra, Christ College Senator Mikayla Flanagan and Senior Senator Allison Pariso were the ones who authored the SR.
“We put together SR Three (SR003-SP22), and at first it was more about the issues that the people that live in the sorority complex have been experiencing. Me and some other senators…were going to be on another SR that was going to address concerns about the freshmen lot, and they just went together, so we combined them,” Hillebrand said. “So basically, that is the two main concerns that we’re trying to address. We want to increase the lighting [and] increase the amount of blue emergency poles.”
Kamra echoed Hillebrand’s goals, adding additional locations and measures that the SR is hoping to engage with.
“Since we are already doing this light study–which is focused on the whole campus–we also had some other areas such as the parking garage near the Counseling Center, the first floor area beside the library…and the back of the Duesenberg Welcome Center. So that was not the main focus [of the study], but we added it if someone wants to take care of that,” Kamra said. “We were also thinking about educating the campus community [in] self-defense and how to take safety precautions and increasing the number of VUPD patrols around the sorority complex and freshmen parking lot.”
The Senators felt a general consensus from their constituents that these two main areas needed additional attention. Hillebrand pointed to the blue emergency lights as a simple measure to ensure safety.
“I’ve had weird experiences when I was a freshman in the freshmen parking lot. It’s literally disconnected from campus…But even with that, there isn’t an emergency light over there, and those are meant to make students feel more safe. I feel like they’re also meant to deter [questionable] people,” Hillebrand said.
The senators hope their resolution works as a catalyst for VUPD or the city of Valparaiso to find an effective solution. The SR will also aid the University in the conduction of a light study on campus-which is evaluating where more lights are needed.
“So they’re looking into it. We are basically writing up a report from Student Senators and other advisors to send that to them so that [the issue] can be better resolved fairly quickly. So it’s just a step in that process,” Kamra said.
Once the group of senators finished writing the SR, the full Student Senate voted to pass it.
“If all Senators agree that this should be addressed, then [the issue] will go to the people which we address. We say that it should go to Valparaiso University Police Department [for] increased patrols and stuff and then also the Office of Parking and Transportation because it’s a community of parking: the freshman lot and the parking garage and stuff like that. And then it depends on the student body president and vice president where they think [the resolution] might go,” Kamra said.
Students are encouraged to reach out to their senators with any questions or concerns regarding the lighting resolution or other issues.