Northern Iowa Student Government

Safety Walk

By: Spencer Walrath on Thu, 10/13/2011 - 23:30

Hello Panthers!

This last Monday evening representatives of your student government met with University officials, including President Ben Allen, Vice Presidents Jan Hanish and Terry Hogan, Director of the Physical Plant Dean Shoars, Director of Public Safety Dave Zarifis, Senior Facilities Engineer John Streicher, and Student Disability Services Program Coordinator Ashley Brickley.

After nightfall, we walked across, around, and through campus to determine any areas that we felt might be a safety concern. We identified several areas where the lamp lights had gone out and we will have those lights replaced very soon, if they have not been replaced already. In particular we are looking to address the south side of East Bartlett, the area around the Library and the Campanile, the area between Curris Business Building and Baker Hall, the garden between the Greenhouse and Gilchrist Hall, and the sidewalk in front of the Multi-Modal Transportation Center.

We also identified a few areas that we will consider adding additional lighting to. This includes the area around the Campanile, particularly next to the north side of Rod Library, in between Curris Business Building and Baker Hall, and in the loading dock behind the Communication Arts Center.

There was some concern about particular buildings that have outdoor lighting in place, but those lights haven't been turned on recently. Our hope is to place the building lights on a timer switch so that they can automatically turn on at a certain time of the night.

Those of you who live in ROTH or the University Apartments may have noticed that a row of new LED lamps has been installed on that main stretch of sidewalk leading back to the University Apartments. These new lights are brighter and have a cleaner light than the old lamps, and they also use 40% less electricity than the original lamps.

We also tested the blue emergency poles located throughout campus to ensure that they were functioning properly and that we received a prompt response from the University Police.

There are a few areas around campus where the concrete is broken and sticks up - these sections will be replaced shortly by our facilities management crew.

One area that our group spent a lot of time discussing was the crossing between the Campbell CP parking lot and the Student Health Center. This is one of the most trafficked areas on campus and also one of the most dangerous because it crosses a city road where drivers do not always slow down for pedestrians. The group discussed a number of solutions to the problem, including installing a flashing "pedestrian crossing" sign and repainting the cross walk. The group will continue to assess the problem and will come forward in the near future with a solution.

We identified the crosswalk area within the circle drive between Maucker and Seerley that will be repainted soon and will have a pedestrian sign installed.

The group noticed that, at some of the emergency exits from Rod Library, the cement landing directly outside of the doors does not connect to the sidewalk, which would cause a problem for anyone in a wheel chair. Facilities Planning will be pouring new cement to connect these landings to the sidewalk.

That's a lot of information to disseminate so I apologize if I have missed something. The take-away from all of this is that we are addressing a lot of the safety concerns that we have identified on campus. The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is a top priority for UNI and we hope that our efforts Monday night will yield concrete (pun-intended) improvements to campus security.

If you've noticed a spot on campus that you think deserves our attention, please contact me at and let me know about it.

I hope that you have a great weekend! Go Panthers!