By Melissa Prentice
Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA students will soon be able to blow the whistle on campus crime with the help of student government.
As part of a campaign to promote campus safety, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona will initially purchase about 3,000 plastic police-type whistles attached to beaded keychains, said Keli Farinech, an ASUA staff member. She is planning the whistle-stop campaign with ASUA President T.J. Trujillo.
Although ASUA originally planned to distribute the whistles this week, they currently have only half of the necessary $2,500 and are asking for contributions from the UA Police Department, the Student Health Center and the Dean of Students Office to fund the rest of the whistles, Farinech said.
Distribution is now scheduled to begin the third or fourth week of September following a presentation on the Mall promoting campus safety, Farinech said. Whistles will also be distributed through the ASUA Escort Service and the Student Health Center's safe sex program, Frisky Business.
"Whistle-stop campaigns are traditionally a very effective method of alerting others that someone needs help," said UAPD Sgt. Brian Seastone, who also said he is enthusiastic about the student government's efforts to promote campus safety.
"ASUA can reach many more people through their clubs and organizations than UAPD can alone," Seastone said.
Escort Service Director Greg Gemson said he agrees that campus safety is an important issue for ASUA.
"Campus safety is something just about every student can benefit from. Safety has an impact on everyone," Gemson said. "Ensuring a safe campus is a way of letting the students know that the student government is looking out for their safety and well-being," he added.
The Escort Service offers students a safe ride to areas on or near campus in an attempt to reduce the number of rapes and assaults on campus, Gemson said.
Trujillo said he wants to make the service available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, even in the summertime.
Gemson said he has no plans to extend the Escort Service's hours. Escort Service drivers are available Sunday-Thursday from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. during fall and spring semesters, he said.
Gemson said that before making the service available on weekends, ASUA and Escort Service leaders would have to consider whether that move would be taken as a way to promote drinking.
He also said the service does not have enough money to pay drivers to work during the weekend hours, when volunteers are hard to find.
Gemson said about 50-75 students, mostly women, use the service each night.
Wende Julien, a political science sophomore, has used the Escort Service two or three times for a ride to her dorm from the Student Recreation Center. She said she feels safe on campus, but added that she has been warned by many people that she shouldn't be too confident. Julien said she has been satisfied with the service and plans to use them again.
Adah Amonette, a psychology freshman, said she would never feel safe walking on campus alone at night. Although she hasn't yet used the Escort Service, she plans to call after evening classes.
Gemson said he has taken steps to make the service safer for volunteers, and quicker for students who use it, by moving the service from the Parking and Transportation building to a central location in the ASUA office.
Trujillo said that student government representatives from the three state schools will discuss campus safety and ways to get state funding at the September Arizona Board of Regents meeting. Read Next Article