Security, Student Senate discuss nighttime campus safety

Allison Mueller

Cheney Mason / Winonan

Winona State University Student Senate officers have been working with the university’s Director of Security Chris Cichosz to help improve nighttime campus safety for students and faculty.

According to Student Senate officer and sophomore Jackson Ramsland, the senate has been discussing safety for the last year and trying to get safety features in place to help improve the system.

“We are working with director of Security to make escort services better,” Ramsland said. “We just want to make sure that everyone when they ask for an escort is given respect, and they shouldn’t have to be waiting a long time.”

The escort services are provided by Winona State’s Security when a student feels unsafe getting home at night. The service provides students with an escort home.

“The way it works right now is you can ask for an escort, and they will take you up to four blocks from campus,” Ramsland said. “People had kind of come to us and said they called Security for an escort, and then they never showed up or they were rude to us.”

Ramsland said the senate wants to make sure the escort services are a priority for the students using them.

“Safety became a bigger concern at the beginning of the year when two students passed away, which was extremely unfortunate,” Ramsland said. “We really want to make sure that not only students feel safe, but… at least traditional parents there is that expectation that we are going to be keeping students safe.”

Ramsland also said the senate has talked about students not always feeling safe while they are on campus and how the senate can change that.

“When you walk across campus at night it makes people feel nervous,” Ramsland said. “So we want to make sure that not only everyone is safe but feel comfortable walking around campus and being in Winona.

Student Senate officer senior Rebekah Bailey said a big part of what the senate was discussing as a solution last year was more street lighting.

“That’s something that is still in the works of being implemented properly,” Bailey said. “That would take work from not only Winona State but the city of Winona, so with that it’s still a process.”

According to Ramsland, there are some provisions and processes in place. He explained how last year, there was a pedestrian safety group launched, which he is a part of, and it includes people from the city of Winona, representatives from Winona State and some students.

“Basically we talk about what can we do to hopefully decrease pedestrian accidents around the city,” Ramsland said. “So one of the things we do as far as lighting goes is they are increasing the lighting as the bulbs go out they replace them with LED light.”

The LED lights are better for the environment as well as brighter lighting for the lamps, Ramsland said.

Bike security was another dimension of safety and crime prevention Ramsland said the senate has been working to improve.

“Unfortunately, people are still stealing bikes and cutting locks and stuff,” Ramsland said. “So we worked with facilities last semester to identify places where we think the bikes are getting stolen more often.”

Ramsland said they worked with the facilities to increase lighting in the places where the bikes were getting stolen or moving bike racks to better spots on campus.

Ramsland said this is continuing because it has made it onto the administration platform, and they are looking for more ways to keep bikes from getting stolen on Winona State’s campus.

“That is really nice because they are still thinking of ways to help.” Ramsland said

“It’s coming together slowly but hopefully surely,” Bailey added.

By Cheney Mason