SA surveys campus lighting

A new Student Association initiative is aiming to identify areas on campus that lack adequate lighting and locations where existing fixtures need repair.

The goal of the campus lighting project is to identify lighting fixtures on campus that need repair and to look at areas that could use more light. The results will be collected in a report that will be sent to the Office of Business Affairs.

“The second police district, where GW is located, is statistically the safest in (D.C.), but we can’t be lax about it,” said Scott Levy, the SA’s director of security affairs. “Our objective is to ensure that students live on a safe campus.”

Last month, Levy, SA President Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar and University Police Director Dolores Stafford toured campus in a shuttle bus to assess campus lighting. They were joined by representatives from the Office of Judicial Affairs, the Office of Business Affairs and the Dean of Students Office.

The group examined campus lighting and District-maintained lighting in areas where crimes have occurred.

Locations that were identified in the group’s initial survey included the sidewalk in front of Mitchell Hall where an incorrect bulb had been placed in a fixture, and in front of the Smith Center, where there were no lights in the parking lot on the night of a basketball game.

Levy said he expects all necessary repairs and additional lighting to be completed by April 1.

SA undergraduate Sen. Cat Sadler (CSAS) became involved in the SA’s Campus Lighting Improvement Project after she was confronted by a homeless man at 3 a.m. in late October on the way to her apartment. She said the streetlight in the area where she was approached was not working.

“I was coming home from a study group in the Marvin Center late at night when a homeless man grabbed my arm near Student Health,” Sadler said.

Sadler said she reported the incident to UPD the night it occurred and stressed that the broken light bulb should be replaced. She said she spoke with UPD officers every night for the next two weeks.

But Sadler said she was talking to the wrong people.

“The University does a good job of lighting, but the city lighting is the problem.” Sadler said.

Stafford explained the University does not control street lighting, but it tries to supplement it by mounting lights on University buildings.

“We cannot continue to supplement D.C. lighting when they are being irresponsible,” she said.

Sadler said UPD officers called the D.C. Department of Public Works with a list of repairs to city-owned equipment near campus, including the broken light Sadler reported.

“The problem is that the D.C. Public Works crews will only come out during the day and they would look at the wrong lights,” Stafford said.

She said the District-owned lights near Thurston Hall are broken and the light across the street from Francis Scott Key Hall flickers.

Stafford has attempted to mark District-owned light posts with numbers or tape to make it easier for city crews to identify lighting that needs repairs.

The SA has been working with D.C. Councilman Jack Evans (Ward 2) to facilitate better communication between the University and the city’s public works department.

“The Councilman will call his contacts over at public works to make them aware of the lighting repairs,” said Damian McKenna, an intern in Evans’ office. “If the SA could fax their final report to the Councilman, he would put his name on it, which might speed up the process.”

Representatives of the public works department were unavailable for comment.

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