Students continue push to improve campus safety

In the wake of the Umpqua Community College shooting, ASUO Director of Staff Casey Edwards and senior Sydney McBride are continuing their efforts of making the University of Oregon a safer place with the Campus Safety Campaign.

The goal of the campaign is to increase safety on campus “day and night, inside and outside of classrooms and between all people,” Edwards said.

The duo has been working on the campaign since fall 2015. They expect to see gradual improvements before they graduate in the spring and expect larger changes after they leave.

After starting the campaign, McBride and Edwards learned that UO is not adequately prepared for situations like an active shooter.

“This campaign has brought to the surface the [UO’s] emergency plans are insufficient and that there are plans unknown to those even in the ASUO,” McBride said.

Freshman Sara Pedersen, an international student from Norway, said the close proximity of the UCC shooting made the idea of campus shootings more real for her.

“I was shocked the UO didn’t do more [after the UCC shooting]. People didn’t make a big deal about it and it proves that things like this are normal,” Pederson said.

Since fall 2015, the two have worked with Enterprise Risk Services and assessed what they learned. ERS plans to create a student advisory board regarding campus safety and is working with journalism students to create videos about how to react in certain situations, including a situation involving an active shooter.

Edwards and McBride have also worked with the Division of Equity and Inclusion to make campus safer through cultural competency, a partnership that ASUO’s new Multicultural Advocate Vickie Gimm has helped foster.

The two hope the combination of all of these efforts will improve the general feeling of campus safety.

Despite the amount of work being put into the campaign, McBride said there is a divide between students who care about the issues and those who know how to make a difference.

Although McBride said it is difficult to make progress in an institution as large as UO, the two made progress with ERS and the Division of Equity and Inclusion that will ultimately impact students.

“It may be minimal right now, but in the end it could save someone’s life,” McBride said.

By the end of the term, Edwards and McBride plan to create a survey to assess students’ understandings of available resources and services and learn ways to better engage students about the issue of campus safety.

Because the two will be graduating in the spring, they hope to create a domino effect on campus where future students will reap the benefits of their work.

“There has been steady progression on this project throughout this term, but it is definitely not something that can be solved in just one year, especially given the complexity and scope of the problem,” Edwards said.

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Miles Trinidad

Miles Trinidad

Miles Trinidad is an Opinion Columnist for the Emerald focusing on politics, social policy and economics. Prior to joining the Opinion Desk, Trinidad was a reporter and covered student groups and ASUO for the Emerald from 2015-2016 and contributed to Flux Magazine in 2017.

Trinidad has worked in political campaigns, non-profit political advocacy, and a legislative and communication role for a U.S. senator.

Trinidad is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science, economics, and journalism.