Student Senate is seeking to address safety issues around campus after students expressed concerns about recent sexual assaults on campus.
Senate has proposed solutions that include expanding the bus loop system and adding more lighting around campus.
“Better lighting does not end sexual assault, but it does make a step in the right direction,” Student Senate Vice President Nicole Schneider said.
Some commissioners are working on mapping where sexual assault occurs most on campus to determine which areas might need more lighting. It is also looking into where additional potential bus stops could be added around campus.
Senate hosted a safety walk Monday with OU President Duane Nellis to determine which areas need better lighting.
Student Senate President Landen Lama said that it’s too early to know when the project would be completed. The project is starting now, though, and Student Senate is looking to get work orders completed over winter break.
When it comes to adding lighting on campus, Lama said it would likely take more time.
“(We) have to consider space management and who is providing the funds,” Lama said in a news conference. “We will be compiling a report on what we saw and what needs to be done additionally.”
The current pinned tweet on the Student Senate Twitter page asks students to share photos of parts of campus they believe should get better lighting.
With the hashtag #makeOHIOlit, students have shared photos and videos of themselves walking in dark areas on campus. Tweets have included areas by Sargent Hall, Scott Quadrangle and the bike path.
Students began voicing concerns about campus safety began after several reports of sexual assault occurred in November. Two of these cases included women being approached by men they didn’t know and sexually assaulted on campus.
In one incident, a female student reported that she was approached by three men in the parking lot by Washington and Jefferson Halls and was forcibly groped.
In another, a woman said she was walking on West Mulberry Street by the graffiti wall and was groped by an unknown male.
More lighting doesn’t necessarily mean sexual assaults will stop happening. OUPD Lt. Tim Ryan said that he doesn’t know whether a correlation between poor lighting and sexual assault has been proven, but he said it would make people feel safer.
“To me, it’s like blue light phones, Ryan said. “They don’t increase safety but might make people feel safer.”
Max Ramsey contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated who is working to map out where sexual assaults occur most on campus. Additionally, the report has been updated to reflect when the safety walk took place and what the proposed solutions are. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information and to include additional reporting credit.