Outer Loop needs blue light special
In case the massive fences and mud pits did not make the fact obvious, Rice is undergoing a surge of construction. But beyond the large-scale additions of the pavilion, new power plant and two new colleges, there are also subtler improvements in campus life — notably, replacing and upgrading the emergency phone system.
The old phones looked like leftover props from Doctor Who, and they were about as functional. The new blue-light speakerphones will work better, and we applaud the Crisis Management Team for spearheading the program. However, the effectiveness of the upgrade is limited: Students still do not have phones along the Outer Loop, where they are most needed to protect against criminal threats.
The Outer Loop is the most exposed and most poorly-lit location on campus. It is also where people — often in runners' trances or listening to iPods — are least aware of their surroundings. Given these circumstances, emergency phones are a necessity. If CMT is going to emphasize the phones' utility in emergencies, it should install phones where they will be used.
We know the Rice University Police Department does a great job, and safety on campus is never a concern to be losing sleep over. But the dull blue glow from the emergency phones would reassure runners that, even on the Outer Loop, they are only a button away from help.
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