Why have emergency phones if they don’t work?

A staple on practically any modern college campus are blue light emergency phones. These phone systems are usually tall tower-like objects placed throughout a university’s campus that students can use for a variety of reasons, ranging from walking in the dark to critical emergencies. The phones located on NSU’s campuses are grey obelisks with the words emergency written in white on the side and a bright blue light on top. Located on the phones, there are two buttons: one red emergency button and one black call button. After pressing either button, a dispatcher will answer, and then, one can explain their situation. Fantastic systems, in theory.  

NSU has, at the very least, 100 of these emergency blue light systems solely on the Fort Lauderdale campus, and even more throughout the regional campuses. However, there are systems throughout the Fort Lauderdale campus that simply do not work. There are phones in the main Residence Hall Parking Garage that are just unavailable. The phones are covered up by cardboard and tape displaying the words, “NOT WORKING.” The blue light systems by the residence halls have the tall grey towers, but the phone system inside are completely missing. What is the point of having these crucial systems on campus if they do not even work?

If there were to be a traumatic or dangerous situation students found themselves in and planned on rushing over to the blue light in the parking garage to inform public safety, they’d only find their effort was futile. What would the students do then? They decide to run to yet another nearby system, but this one fails to be working as well. What then? NSU clearly cares about the safety of its students, but why would the university ever put students into these potentially dangerous situations?

Public safety at NSU is here for a reason, and it does not always have to be these extreme situations. Something as simple as walking back to your dorm after a late-night class and having an officer walk with you is a feeling of safety that students here on campus should be guaranteed and have a right to. 

While I am unsure of how much these working systems cost, having the phones available so any student can feel safe is a priceless necessity for all campuses. The tuition we pay should go to a campus we feel safe in no matter the situation. 

NSU is an open campus. At any point, practically anyone can walk onto campus and into any open building. With working blue light emergency phone systems, all of this worry could be put to rest and maybe a tragic event can be prevented.  This feels like a simple fix NSU can make that would mean a tremendous amount to a large majority of students across all campuses.

Photo: R. Esner

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