'Absurd to Feel Unsafe On-Campus'

I was eager to read The Spectrum's housing addition a few weeks ago, since both the North and South campuses were included in the reviews. It was refreshing to read students' comments regarding the negative aspects of living on South Campus (both on- and off-campus). Yes, those of us who choose to live in University Heights are taking a dangerous step, but many students do not have the type of income required to live elsewhere. Also, many students do not choose to live in the heights area, but are placed to live in the dorms on South campus. As a student that has lived in Spaulding Quadrangle, Red Jacket Quadrangle, Clement Hall, two different houses in University Heights, an apartment in Tonawanda near Sweethome, I have observed drastic differences between the two campuses (and have had ample experience in judging these differences). While most of these idiosyncrasies are attributable to being situated in different towns boasting very different communities, I am appalled that there is not more being done on the half of the University in attempt to equalize these two campuses.

In every way, UB's North Campus is preferable to the South campus; there are several more bus stops (and bus lines), much better lighting, hundreds of more events, more roadways (how is a police supposed to patrol the campus and protect the students late at night if he is not able to drive around most of the campus?), newer and more energy-efficient dormitories (including recycling bins, can-collecting runs, and better/larger kitchens), student upperclassmen apartments, more eateries and shops (true, there are off-campus options, but they involve crossing a main road, and walking around in a dangerous area). The North campus is the newer campus, and there is certainly plenty of room with which to build as the University and its community grows, but South campus, as long as it is still utilized, should be embraced, not ignored.

While I am in no way suggesting that UB2020 attempt to rebuild South Campus or completely re-route it's roadways, I do hope that a bit more attention is paid to it. First-year students placed in the dorms on South Campus are immediately excluded from a major part of the University experience. As a Freshman, I only ever left the comfort and safety of my lovely single dorm room (in Ellicott) to go out to parties or to head to Michael Hall when I was ill. I always felt unsafe on this campus, even during the day.

Furthermore, for those of us who live off-campus on South, there are just as many grievances. While most problems (crime, mainly) ought to be attacked by the Buffalo Police Department, there are some issues that, again, should at least be investigated by the University. For instance, although the South campus is smaller than the North campus, there absolutely needs to be a larger bus run. By this, I imply more stops (especially two near the borders of campus, possibly near the Winspear (Rotary Road) entrance, or closer to Winspear and Bailey) and more buses. Although North campus is larger, it is not so much larger that it warrants more than double the transportation (than South). North campus is also arguably safer, unquestionably at night. Many people, even if not walking to their off-campus homes, walk around South campus at night, whether heading to or leaving from night classes, and need safe and dependable transportation around the campus. Yes, there is a Safety Shuttle, but these shuttles do not necessarily follow a set schedule, and waiting for a shuttle seems pointless on a cold night, where it may be more dangerous (and bitterly cold!) to stand around alone.

In addition to the lack of bus stops, there are honestly too many people waiting for buses on South campus. Whether day or night, if one is being transported around North campus, there is generally a seven-to-ten minute wait. Several times in my four years as a student here, I have waited up to thirty minutes (on North waiting to be transported to South, or waiting on South) to even see a bus pull up (again, either day or night), only to be left in the cold due to an overflow of students. Yes, I have truly waited a half-hour for a ride, and I am sure that I am not the only person that has experienced this.

We need better lighting on South campus. There should absolutely not be sexual assaults or robberies on-campus. It is quite obvious that rapes and theft have occurred vastly across American college campuses, but certainly not as many as are alleged of our University. A large part of this is because of the lack of roadways for police to be driving on patrol, but increased lighting would at least provide less of a dangerous area for crimes to be committed. I do admit, I applaud the University in choosing to add more video surveillance to our campus, as many crimes may not necessarily be averted, but at least solved and end in correct punishment of convicted criminals.

I do realize that in a time of economic crisis, there is little to no money to be spent on additions to our University community. However, this is precisely what I would love my increased tuition to be applied to.

Students should be prepared for dangerous situations, but it is absurd for us to feel scared or unsafe on our school property. It's time to balance the scales. UB2020, I urge you to look at your project as an opportunity to better both campuses, not simply the larger, newer campus. 

Kate Tunison

Senior English and political science major

(You may also view this article at its original publishing source, The Spectrum (the premiere student publication at The University at Buffalo) Online by copying and pasting the following URL in your browser: 

http://spectrum.buffalo.edu/article.php?id=39450 ). 
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