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USG focuses on security issues

Campus safety and security is one of the main goals of the Undergraduate Student Government this year.

At last night’s general assembly meeting, President Johnnie Lewis discussed USG’s plans for ensuring that all students living both on and off campus are safe at all times.

One of USG’s main concerns involving campus safety and security is to make sure students are safe when crossing the railroad tracks.

After two pedestrians were hit by trains in Bowling Green this summer, local police have begun ticketing anyone who crosses the train tracks at an undesignated location.

Lewis said simply ticketing students who cross the train tracks at illegal spots is not enough to protect BGSU students and is willing to fight the railroad companies to ensure safety by providing more accessible railroad crossings for pedestrians.

‘I am a firm believer that I can tackle anything if I have the support of the people,’ Lewis said. ‘I am not afraid of a fight with the corporations, but the safety of the students is more important than a battle.’

But Michael Ginsburg, a USG faculty advisor and the Assistant Dean of Students, said it could be difficult for USG to work with large corporations to make the changes Lewis suggested.

‘Railroads are private companies which means that railroads are private properties,’ Ginsburg said. ‘Crossing the railroad tracks at undesignated locations is therefore trespassing and against the law.’

Because it is against the law to cross the railroad tracks anywhere that is not a marked crossing, both Lewis and Ginsburg feel that it is an inconvenience for students who live and walk near the tracks.

‘However, a little inconvenience is better than not being alive at all,’ Ginsburg said.

Chief of Staff, Erin Darnely, said she understands how the new law can make it more difficult to get to and from campus, and is in support of trying to make a change.

‘Even though it may be a big fight, [we] do hope we get our voices out there,’ she said.

USG also hopes to assist the University in their efforts to increase communication on campus should a security crisis arise. The University is already developing a plan to collect students’ cell phone numbers to send out warnings if needed.

For next year’s incoming freshman, cell phone numbers would be collected when first accessing their BG Net account. Along with a home address, a cell phone number would be requested, but all students would be given the option to decline.

Current students would be asked to give their cell phone numbers when registering for classes next semester and would also have the option to decline.

‘In the case of a scenario like the one that occurred at Virginia Tech, [students] would be connected through cell phones and be able to avoid any areas that would be considered dangerous,’ Lewis said.

Along with safety and security, USG also plans to ask the Board of Trustees to give voting privileges to student trustees who are only permitted to voice their opinions at meetings. USG is also working to make instructor evaluations public to assist students in selecting classes each semester.

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