While SRU spares no expense making sure that its campus is adequately lit, there seems to be no incentive to provide additional lighting to the roads surrounding apartment complexes that house students.
Technically, SRU’s administration has no way to increase lighting beyond campus grounds, because that falls under the borough of Slippery Rock’s jurisdiction. This does not mean that they can’t be stronger advocates for the issue, however.
Many of SRU’s students live off campus, or travel to their friends’ apartments off campus. There are enough people who walk to and from campus to justify pushing for adequate walkways and lighting.
Apartment complexes that house a lot of students are mostly located within walking distance, or one or two miles away. Many students also choose to walk to class instead of driving because of the lack of readily available parking spaces.
Students also may choose to walk to and from the bar if they are going to be drinking They shouldn’t have to be punished for choosing to walk home by worrying whether or not they will have a sidewalk or adequate lighting at night to make them feel safe.
Students being under the influence of alcohol also complicates things for drivers who might not be able to see if a student steps into the road, which wouldn’t be unheard of as there is a span where there is no designated walkway for students. It would be terrible if someone was injured just because a driver couldn’t see someone stepping onto the street.
Student drivers have complained that they can’t see students who are walking to or from The Grove or Campus Side, and there is also no sidewalk to guide people who are walking.
It would only be logical for SRU to be concerned about the safety of students walking to or from their apartments at night, especially because students have actively complained about this issue.
The dark spans of walking distance that are unlit make students more susceptible to being hit by drivers who can’t see them, or even make them more vulnerable to robbery or assault.
With as many students as there are who are put at risk due to inadequate lighting, one would think that SRU would become a stronger advocate for increasing the amount of lighting off-campus.
Now that a professor who has a child who lives off campus and the vice president of student affairs has asked SGA for help increasing the amount of lighting, and SGA is creating a petition for the township to increase lighting, it would only follow that a representative of the university would step up and back up SGA so that the issue can be corrected.
Without the push from SGA, students and a professor, we doubt that anyone would have gotten around to trying to resolve the problem at all.
The staff at the university should be concerned with students’ well-being on-campus and off. Their reach should not end where the campus does, and they should be going to any means necessary to ensure the safety of students. If someone got injured a mile or two off-campus, it still reflects poorly on the university.
Will it take someone being seriously injured for the township and SRU to come to an agreement on providing adequately lighting and walkways for people travelling to and from campus?