Metro

Survey shows students have mixed feelings about campus safety

Michigan State Police officers stand on a hill to get a better vantage point of students participating in tailgating during CMU’s Homecoming game on Oct. 19 in a parking lot behind Kelly/Shorts Stadium. (Daytona Niles/Staff Photographer)

Michigan State Police officers stand on a hill to get a better view of students tailgating during CMU’s Homecoming game on Oct. 19 in a parking lot behind Kelly/Shorts Stadium. (Daytona Niles/Staff Photographer)

Students and residents of Mount Pleasant have mixed feelings when it comes to campus safety, according to a survey distributed by Central Michigan Life last month.

Out of the 84 people surveyed, all but four were students currently enrolled at Central Michigan University, with the majority living off campus. Roughly 80 percent of respondents felt CMU has a safe campus.

CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley said he was encouraged by those findings, saying it reflects the work his department puts into their jobs.

“CMU Police are diligent in their efforts to keep people safe and to help people feel secure on this campus,” Yeagley said.

The rest of the survey, however, found mixed results relating to how safe the community feels. About 65 percent of respondents noted that their opinions of safety on campus and in Mount Pleasant have changed since they began living here, and 52 percent confirmed this change occurred within the past year.

One area the students agreed in majority with was the effective use of campus safety services. About 94 percent of respondents answered that they utilize the Central Alert System provided to students.

“While I expected a high percentage of people surveyed stating that they use the CMU Central Alert System to keep them alerted to potential safety situations, we hope more people will sign up for this system to keep them informed,” Yeagley said.

Students and residents also agreed that campus is lacking in one safety service in particular, as 81 percent stated that if any service were to be expanded upon, it should be the Safe Rides system.

“The Safe Rides program is a great program, but when the cars are always super late and it would actually take less time to walk to your destination then (to) wait for a car is almost pointless,” said one respondent.

Others answering the survey said Safe Rides should begin to offer services earlier in the morning to accommodate 8 a.m. classes, and that it ought to begin closer to dusk for those with later classes.

Some students even offered suggestions to improve safety that were not included in the survey.

“I feel campus needs to have more lighting,” another respondent said. “When I leave Pearce (Hall) after my evening class, it is dark. As I walk to my car there is some lighting, but I find it to be too dim. I would feel safer if I could see or be seen by others better.”

Students put CMU among the least safest schools in Michigan, while close to 51 percent of respondents rated Eastern Michigan University as the safest school in the state.

Those results come despite a January stateuniversity.com analysis that found CMU to be the fifth safest university in the state of Michigan, up from seventh in 2011.

“Annual crime reporting statistics bear out that CMU is one of the safest campuses in Michigan,” Yeagley said.

Just 43 percent of respondents said safety awareness on CMU’s campus is an issue.

“I am surprised to see about 43 percent,” Yeagley said. “We, too, desire more of our community to think about safety and participate in the many safety programs offered by the police department and the university.”

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