3 September 2019
The Student Government Association (SGA) senate met for their first meeting of the academic school year last Thursday, however, senators were unable to allocate any funding or participate in any voting due to the agenda not being posted 24 hours prior to the start of the meeting. While the untimely posting of the agenda prevented the senate from making legislative decisions, the senate still met to deliberate various discussion items, including the introduction of a new public safety app.
Chief of Police and Executive Director of Public Safety Marc Pino, along with student body President Jimmy “JayJay” Porcadilla, initiated discussion on a proposition to replace most on-campus emergency phones with a smart phone application. The proposition included leaving phones in highly trafficked areas
Emergency phones are in 54 locations across campus, most stationed in parking lots and garages, according to Pino.
The desire to switch to an app comes from a lack of use of the emergency phones and frequent false alarms.
“Over the last four years, [a committee] has done a study over the effectiveness of the emergency phones on campus. In those four years, only one crime has been reported using an emergency phone,” Pino said. “A majority of the calls we get are ‘hang-up’ calls set off by storms in the area.”
According to Pino, these hang-up calls invalidates the accuracy of the emergency phones. “While we treat every call real, there does come a certain point where trust is degraded,” he said.
CU Boulder removed all their emergency phones a couple years ago and there have not been any reported problems since.
The app in question to replace the emergency phones has many features. “The app has the ability to call Public Safety and it has an option to turn on a timer as you walk from one location to another. If it takes you ten minutes to walk to your car, and if you for whatever reason do not reach the point B, it will mark your last known location.”
According to Pino, CU Boulder also tried to implement a public safety app in place of the emergency phones, but the app didn’t reach the anticipated success and the campus opted to abandon it.
“I just want there to be a way for students to get help and for us to get to students easily,” said Pino.
Pino said that incoming students will receive information on the app, and he believes that it can be released soon.
“This [app] gives cops different tools and saves the school a lot of money,” said Pino. “It costs $18,000 per year to keep the phones in operation and only $5,000 per year for the app.”
The senators also discussed the possibility of writing legislation to change guidelines of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC), how leftover money from the BAC is used for the next year and other funding guidelines.
Vice-President Philip Oke-Thomas informed senators on a proposed plan to move the Career Center to University Center (UC). Following the results of a survey sent out over the summer, which indicated that 80 percent of participants in the survey were uninformed on the Career Center, there are proposals to move it to an area of increased student traffic.
The Career Center is currently located on the 2nd floor of Cragmor Hall, but the plan proposes to have it moved to where the pool tables are in UC and shift the game room to UC 120. On Sept. 5, a resolution will be brought forward for vote.
The Career Center is also currently without a director.