Staff editorial: Don’t wait for the smoking gun

The Hatchet’s editorial board urges UPD to ensure that all of GW’s blue lights are working properly, and to gather more data for the blue light system.

Walking home from Gelman late at night, one may not feel in danger per se, but the situation can be somewhat unnerving. The occasional passerby, car or UPD officer provide a comforting feeling, but a commonly recognized symbol of campus safety among many college students is the blue light system. The blue light system is especially vital to an urban campus such as GW’s, but the University’s system is marred by out-of-order lights and a lack of accurate information. Regardless of how often people actually press blue light buttons for safety reasons, UPD needs to gather more information about this system and ensure that every device is working properly.

The blue light system is a resource for people on campus who, when in danger, can press a button and be connected to the University Police Department. According to protocol, an officer will then be dispatched to that location to help. Blue lights are common on college campuses, though according to reports, they are typically pressed accidentally or by people who are looking for directions. GW’s own blue light system is used primarily for the same reasons, according to University data. Even though people may not use blue lights for their intended purposes, they have an important purpose nonetheless.

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