The UNM LoboRESPECT team arranged an open forum on Tuesday evening to discuss with students security issues on campus and possible solutions on how these issues can be resolved.
At least 30 students showed up for the Safety Solution Summit, held in the SUB Ballrooms, where they shared their opinions on campus security as well as their concerns with the LoboRESPECT officials. Rob Burford of UNM’s Safety Committee was also present.
Kyle Stepp, co-student coordinator for LoboRESPECT, said the main purpose of the event was to have a critical and creative conversation on how to address campus concerns about security, which students provided during ASUNM’s recent Safety Day initiative.
“Based on a safety survey, where students were able to write down their concerns, we wanted to continue that and, more than talking, come up with solutions to the security problems noted by students on campus. This program was students for students,” he said.
Stepp said LoboRESPECT officials want to have an inclusive campus where students could socially and academically thrive.
“During today’s event, we actually got some really good feedback. Specifically on how to simply the system for students to report their situations and how we provide better advertisement and better ways to educate students about resources,” he said.
At one point during the event Stepp asked a table of about 15 students who had heard of the LoboGuardian app - which can be used by students to signal a preferred contact when they don’t make it to their destination at a set time - and only one student raised her hand, signifying a lack of communication about the resources UNM offers.
Jacqueline Eckman, co-coordinator of LoboRESPECT, said during the event the students also shared general security concerns.
“The students need a bigger presence of UNM police on campus. We got a lot of ideas on how to arrange different awareness events on campus in the future. Some students also discussed this idea of inviting UNMPD for a talk, so that students know what they actually do and how students can benefit from their services,” she said.
Aubriana Knell, a sophomore sociology and psychology double major, said her major concern was empowering students, “allowing them to protect themselves.”
She said students should be allowed to carry nonlethal self-defense tools.
“One of the things is that people should know that there are people who are working on improving security on campus, it’s not that no one is taking it seriously. People can also volunteer and get involved in these efforts,” she said.
Langston Bowns, a junior economics and Chinese double major, also regarded personal defense as important to his experience at UNM.
“Being able to use nonlethal self-defense tools is a big issue for me. We did touch on that in today’s meeting,” he said.
He said that he believed there should be more student patrols on campus.
“Students will feel more comfortable reporting issues to the student patrol. Student patrol can then report to the police or direct students to the right place,” he said. “The major issues in my opinion are that students don’t know how to report, or they feel uncomfortable reporting. There needs to be programs in place that students can use to report crimes.”
Sayyed Shah is the assistant news editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Mianfawadshah.