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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Lights, cameras, actions needed to end safety concerns

Safety concerns on the UNK campus. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff

It’s dark at UNK. 

A student drives through rows and rows of cars, searching for an on-campus parking spot, but finds none. So they decide to park off campus on a side street. 

On the way to their dorm, the student walks briskly, looking over their shoulder. They clench their pepper spray in hand and keys between their knuckles for self-defense options.

Traveling at night is already risky, but it is even riskier with insufficient lighting and a lack of security cameras in parking lots. 

We support the Student Senate’s initiative to seek options for more security cameras. Any UNK student, visitor or official can see that parking is a huge problem here.

Oftentimes, students have no choice but to navigate through crowded lots or side streets. 

Currently, there are a little under 200 security cameras on campus, but if a student is harmed or threatened, UNK Police has no security cameras they can check in parking lots. 

This is especially concerning if there are hit-and-runs, attempted violence or AirTags are found. AirTags are small devices that can attach to items, such as phones, keys or even vehicles, to track their location digitally. 

Kearney is also one of many towns along the interstate. Though UNK is not directly beside I-80, Governor Pete Ricketts addressed this road as a hotspot for human trafficking, according to a KMTV interview in 2021.

In late September, the Student Senate addressed the problem of individuals trying to break into Greek Housing and cars at night. In the weeks before Halloween, masked people were reported chasing after students on campus. Now, two robberies were attempted.

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again. Campus lighting needs to be prioritized. The petition that’s been circulating proves that we’re not the only students who feel this way. 

 New street lamps were installed along the walkway where Otto Olsen once stood, but there aren’t even bulbs in them. All it takes is a stroll after dark to see that the current light fixtures are flickering or not even on at times.

The area between Thomas Hall, the library and the Fine Arts Building is frightening. There are plenty of places for people to hide in the shrubbery surrounding the shadowy amphitheater. 

Other places in need of lighting include parking lots, construction areas and scattered areas on west campus.

To calm students’ fears, we urge officials to fix and install more light fixtures. Next, campus officials need to purchase security cameras soon and install security signs to deter criminals.

Lastly, we ask that UNK and the Kearney community press the gas on finding an alternative to SafeRide. The Health Promotion Office said they wanted to collaborate with Student Government on an alternative transportation system. SafeRide ended in September, but what is the progress of finding another way to safely transport intoxicated students? 

In the meantime, students should make their concerns known. Every college campus faces its own set of risks, but students should try to walk in groups, be aware of their surroundings, report incidents and utilize the UNK Police department. Another safety precaution would be more patrols at night or reactivating the safety buttons on streetlights. This may help reassure students.

We are pleased to see UNK officials listening to our concerns about campus safety. But until these needs are met, we ask our fellow Lopers to stay safe out there.

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