March 13, 2018

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | In Support of More Blue Lights On and Near Campus

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To the editor:

I remember, way back during my freshman orientation at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, how amazed I was by the campus’s blue light system. At the time I was fairly ignorant regarding the sexual assault woes that plague university campuses nationwide. Nevertheless, the idea that I could, from virtually any point on campus, have a straight line of sight to one, and sometimes two or three, blue light boxes inspired a strong sense of safety. It was admittedly also somewhat fun checking out how many blue lights I could see from different points on campus.

Needless to say, I was a bit shocked when I came to Cornell two years later, as a junior transfer, and found that the blue lights on campus were, at best, scarce. Finding out that there are, in fact, 950 emergency phones on campus, was an even greater surprise. They’re practically invisible at night! While I applaud Cornell for piloting a new blue light on Ho Plaza, I expect to see more than a publicity stunt going forward.

Specifically, I think Collegetown would greatly benefit from a mass deployment of blue lights. I, for one, am sick and tired of receiving crime alerts from areas of Collegetown that are, for starters, poorly lit and lack the exposure of the more open areas of the main campus. I feel strongly that deployment of blue lights near off-campus student housing across the Collegetown area can have a positive impact in deterring crime, especially sexual assault. I think men who otherwise have no moral compass might think twice after seeing a blue light close by before committing a sexual assault. I also hope that women might feel a little safer knowing that help is just a button press away.

The blue light system is a success at University of Connecticut. It should be deployed en masse at Cornell, ASAP. I look forward to the day that I could feel as safe traversing Cornell at night as I did at University of Connecticut.

Ryan Norton ’17
Cornell Law School, J.D. Candidate, 2020