The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Lack of lights on campus leads students to question their safety

Their class ends at 7:00PM. This gives them enough time to eat a meal, do some homework, and ultimately get to the gym. 

Upon arriving at campus everything seems fine. They see the usual amount of cars parked in Lot E

At the gym they decide on doing legs and ending with a circuit. They push through a hard workout and feeling satisfied with the amount of work they put in, they decide it’s time to go home. 

Outside their mind starts to wander: “I just did legs and my lower body feels like noodles. What am I supposed to do if something or someone creeps up on me?” 

Feeling uneasy, especially when it is dark, comes to many on campus. Safety has been in question among students for quite some time. Whether it is during the day and they wonder about someone who is armed on campus, or during dark walks home from class at the end of the night. 

“I would say that I feel relatively safe on campus. I’ve seen the cops at the police station doing a few rounds but I mainly think I feel safe just knowing that they’re nearby if I ever need them…I think I would feel a lot safer if I actually saw the police officers around campus on foot. I usually only ever see them give out tickets and make stops so it almost feels like they’re just trying to keep busy instead of actually helping people,” said an anonymous student.

Sonoma State Police Department being located on campus allows for a timely response. Frequently, squad cars are seen patrolling the different parking lots and the general vicinity. 

“I’d say I feel very safe on campus since we have good security and campus police patrolling all the time,” said Sonoma State student Christopher Fanfelle. 

Seawolves are also offered an escort service, in which they can call to request one in scenarios they feel unsafe walking to parts of campus. 

 “I only ever don’t feel safe when walking at night. There aren’t many street lamps so it gets pretty dark outside. I’ve never tried being escorted but even if I did, I’d still have to wait outside and walk with a stranger. Even if he’s a cop, as a woman, I wouldn’t feel 100% safe,” said another anonymous student.

Foot patrols would seem to make an even safer campus. Escorts also raise awareness of the connections the officers have with the students and how secure they feel being escorted.

But it is not just the police officers that make SSU feel safe. Students also rely on the campus environment and culture that it has. 

“Overall I feel safe at school, the students and staff create a secure and safe environment.

Of course sometimes we overthink things and we feel a level of uncertainty, like walking to our cars at night, or just the thought of someone coming onto campus armed. I try to not overthink and I would like to believe that schools are sanctuaries. I think that the campus culture has made me feel safe at times where I feel uncertain,” said Natalie Angel, a senior at SSU.

Even though she thinks of schools as sanctuaries, she isn’t naive to the thought of potential danger.  

“I do carry pepper spray with me in case anything were to happen,” said Angel.

Another anonymous Seawolf also expressed that they carry potential tools for self defense, “I usually carry pepper spray, and if I don’t, I make sure to hold my keys in a way that I could defend myself if something were to happen.”

Overall safety is an important aspect of the college experience. Police officers on campus, escorts, and patrols. But there are still ways in which it can become even better.

Some improvements that could be made are adding street lights to parking lots or areas that are darker, or having a crash course on self defense or how to utilize a self defense device. It was also expressed that foot patrols or even bike patrols would be much appreciated. Most importantly, listening to the campus community for ways that would make everyone as a collective feel safe.

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