After working on an assignment at David W. Mullins Library for three hours, Courtney had to walk for 15 minutes alone mostly in darkness to return to her apartment on the edge of campus.

Junior Courtney Meyers says that she tries to avoid walking on campus at night because it makes her feel unsafe.

Meyers worries when she has to walk on campus at night because of the lack of lighting, she said. Most of the time, Meyers prefer to be accompanied by a group of friends at night.

Sophomore Sally Senn usually walks from Vol Walker Hall at night because she feels relatively safe, but most of the girls in the architecture program will not go out by themselves at night, she said. 

Students Worry About Lighting on Campus Paths

Some areas of campus, such as the stretch of sidewalk by Gearhart and White Hall on Oct. 1, are poorly lit, posing safety concerns for students.

Senn thinks the parking garages on campus do not have enough light, she said. 

The Facilities Management department spends an annual amount of approximately $125,000 to maintain the approximately 2,100 free-standing light poles on campus, said Breanna Lacy, communications coordinator for Facilities Management in an email. That number does not include the costs of new installations or mounted lights on exteriors of building, electricity or other factors. 

'If a student or member of the campus community does notice a light out on campus, we ask that they let us know so we can fix it,” Lacy said. “We want to do everything possible to make this campus safe.” 

Lacy said that although Facilities Management employees maintain lights around campus, specific safety concerns are typically addressed through UAPD.

Lighting does not pose a particular problem on campus, UA Police Department Capt. Gary Crain said.

"The experience we have had is that sexual assault, for example, usually occurs with two people that know each other and find themselves in an isolated place. We don't have people being attacked outside. That hopefully will not happen in the future," he said. 

Junior Joe Williams thinks that poor lighting is an issue on campus, even though he says he doesn't feel directly concerned.

While Meyers and Williams think that the campus needs more lights, Crain explains that a higher degree of light could be a source of annoyance for the neighbors.

Crain says that UA officials choose to make the appropriate balance between how bright can it be and what is necessary to safety. 

"If there is a place that needs attention, we have a method that people can report that so we can look at it,'' he adds. 

"Twice a year, a group of people go out and looks for any burned light that needs to be repaired. We also examine areas that are dark and might need additional lighting," Crain said. 

Crain encourages students when moving around campus to take any necessary safety precautions such as using the RAVE Guardian app, which allows easy emergency communication with UAPD. 

There are approximately 113 emergency phones on campus that provide a direct line to UAPD, Crain said.

Crain recommends that students wanting to be safe should avoid being alone at night, he said.  

''We encourage people to walk in groups, get a friend, two people, or to call for an escort if they feel unsafe. The police department will also provide a walking squad for anyone who feels unsafe,'' Crain said. 

The most recent bill ASG senator passed in regard to lighting was in 2017 to allocate a total of $5,000 to cover part of the cost of installing new lighting in Scooter Lot 17. 

"The ASG is committed to ensuring that students feel safe on campus. We are constantly looking at ways for us to address safety concerns," ASG Senate Chair Kianna Sarvestani said. 

ASG Executive Cabinet members coordinated with Residents’ Interhall Congress members on an initiative called Lighting the Way, Sarvestani said. Lighting the Way was an event where students and administrators walked around campus at night and pointed out places in which they felt was too dark, or a light bulb was burnt out. 

Sarvestani said that members of ASG intends to repeat this initiative this fall. The tour will be a collaboration between Facilities Management, UAPD, ASG and RIC.

Obed Lamy is a staff reporter for the Arkansas Traveler

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