My roommate stomped into the apartment the other evening clutching a wad of parking tickets and a scowl. She had just returned from the University of Tampa campus. I hardly needed to ask what the problem was, as she is a repeat offender in the parking department, but I love hearing about the ticketing woes at other colleges, considering the tab I racked up at SMU.
She was given a parking citation while sitting in her car, which I thought was a bit harsh. To be clear, I don’t furrow my brow at this because the guard was in the wrong. On the contrary, I’d like to congratulate UT on their outstanding parking enforcement. The thing that rubs me the wrong way is that my roommate has complained multiple times that she does not feel safe parking in the student garage at night and trekking across campus to get to class. I feel this is a legitimate concern, since the grounds aren’t very well-lit.
I feel that SMU has a similar lighting issue. No matter how many times I walked to the journalism lab at 5:45 a.m. to work at The Daily Update, I couldn’t help looking over my shoulder just to make sure there was nobody lurking in the dark while I booked it across the completely unlit quad. I did the same power walk/ look over the shoulder/ punch 911 in the cell phone just in case maneuvers when I walked home at night from The Daily Campus newsroom. If there were more lights, or even if the lights weren’t so dim, I probably would have felt more comfortable walking the quarter mile back to the sorority house.
According to UT’s crime statistics, from 2006 to 2008 there were 10 forcible sex offenses on campus. It can be assumed that this number is not entirely accurate, because many victims do not report assault. The fact of the matter is that anyone can walk on to the campus, a fact that should make women walking to classes late at night wary. In addition, a student was recently killed in a hit and run accident just off of campus. While he was off grounds, the student’s death should encourage school officials to take more precautionary measures where they can.
There are things that simply will happen on a college campus. The University cannot stop every crime. What it can do, however, is use some of the money it’s raking in from the heaps of parking tickets issued to put up more lights and emergency call boxes around campus.