By Allie Jones
No one on Sewanee’s campus deserves to feel unsafe, especially the student body.
One Friday, after a night out, my friend had no way to get home safely. She was house sitting for a professor whose house was a 30 minute walk away from central campus. She called the University Police Department more than three times to see if one of the officers would drive her safely home that night. They never answered the phone.
After that, another friend and I offered to walk her the long way home down Breakfield Road. The walk was not only long, but, because there are no street lights, extremely dark as well. Once we passed the baseball field, there were little to no lights to guide us on our walk.
Once she was safely in the house, which was at the very end of the road, my friend and I had to make the long trek back. By now, it was already after one a.m., and there were no cars, lights, or people in sight. During the walk, my friend and I kept looking behind us, fearful of what might be hidden in the dark. Every noise made us jump. The breeze made our steps quicker. I was tired, afraid, surrounded by the darkness, and far away from the comfort of my bed.
Thankfully, we made it home safely. However, it is scary to think that someone else could be in a similarly dangerous situation that might end poorly. Breakfield is not the only place on campus with inadequate lighting. When students walk behind Fowler or up to the main campus from Hodgson, and on Curlique Road, there is a noticeable lack of lighting.
To make matters worse, Sewanee only has two blue light call buttons on campus that connect with the nearest police department, and they are in inconvenient locations. Live Safe is a great option for students on campus, but if their phones are dead or they have a phone carrier that is not AT&T, there is no other way to rapidly report a problem, unless they happen to be near one of these two blue lights.
Bacchus rarely makes trips to far away roads, where the lighting is sparse, and there are no blue lights beyond the main buildings. While my friend’s experience calling the police department is only one story, the officers at Sewanee may want to look into effective ways to help students feel and remain safe, especially at night. Sewanee is a small town where the students make up a valuable portion of the population.
More resources for safety are needed at the University. If the police cannot be readily available for help, there should be other security measures to help students get home safely. At the very least, more lighting should be installed around Sewanee’s campus.
No matter if you are walking alone or with a friend, being scared when walking home at night is a legitimate feeling, even if you’re just walking a few blocks to your dorm. We are surrounded by woods, and yet most of our backroads are still pitch black. While the community at Sewanee is caring and safe most of the time, there are improvements that can be made to better the lives of the students.