Campus safety as hot topic in presidential SG debate

Safety was a hot topic for candidates in the Student Government debate on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021. 

During the debate, Candidate Saunders (Ignite Party) discussed the importance of expanding the SKYS program.

SKYS (Students Keeping You Safe) is a UNF shuttle program that picks up students at night and takes them to their parking lot, dorms, or anywhere on campus.

“That’s one of the most important things that Student Government can directly do to help campus safety. We have shuttles during the day and SKYS during the night. We can expand SKYS by increasing its hours, days of operation, and hiring more pilots so that more students can access this service,” said Saunders. 

Saunders also mentioned the number of blue lights at The Flats apartment complex should be increased. 

“Additionally, we want to add blue lights to The Flats. Many students have reported that there have been break-ins at The Flats and it’s a unique area of campus that deserves the same attention and care that we give the core of campus. Especially with the burglaries happening, Jacksonville is a very dangerous city. Crimes rise every year and I want to make sure that UNF is an oasis for our students where they never have to worry about their safety and well-being.” 

Candidate Richter (Inspire Party) elaborated on safety in the debate as well. 

Instead of focusing on adding more blue lights at The Flats, Richter would rather focus more on the Safe Osprey’s phone app. 

Safe Ospreys is an application that students can download on their phone that allows them to have a UPD officer pick them up at their location and take them wherever they need to go.

Safe Ospreys App. Photo by Ketan Narotam.

Richter also mentioned we should also increase UPD surveillance at The Flats.

“To make our students safe, we don’t necessarily need more blue lights. We have more than UF and FSU, which are much larger universities. We just need to make sure that the blue lights we already have are working, ” Richter said. “ We also need to better advertise the Safe Osprey’s app and integrate the app with the SKYS program. I also want to make sure that UPD is constantly surveilling The Flats. I have also heard of the numerous break-ins. Blue lights may not be the option if you’re being actively stolen from. I want to make sure that UPD is there to protect you.”

Spinnaker reached out to Chief Frank Mackesy to find what UPD is doing about security at The Flats. Chief Mackesy said UPD has increased patrolling around The Flats. Chief Mackasy also recommends that The Flats should do something about improving the security at the front entrance. According to Chief Mackesy, the front entrance to the Flats doesn’t lock automatically when you leave.

Safety on campus will always be subject to improvement and change. Each candidate in the debate earlier this week had ideas on how to improve safety at UNF. 


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