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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Where in the world is Campus Safety?

Students huddled outside one Sunday morning after a fire alarm displaced them from apartment 318.
Students huddled outside one Sunday morning after a fire alarm displaced them from apartment 318.

By: Addie Lawrence, Editor

With alarms blaring in the background, students in apartment 318 in the Village gathered around the red picnic table to wait for the fire department – and campus safety – to arrive. As the fire truck pulled into the Village, and firefighters arrived on the scene, Campus Safety was nowhere to be found.

“I was startled awake by a really loud alarm going off over my head,” says senior and apartment 318 resident Sydney Allsbrook. “It was really disorienting. The fire trucks got here in I’d say five to 10 minutes. I kept waiting for Campus Safety to show up, but after almost 30 minutes, they still hadn’t shown up. I thought that was weird and somewhat scary because there could have actually been a fire.”

It was Oct. 8, a Sunday, around 10:30 a.m. when the alarm went off. Campus Safety’s official business hours are between Monday and Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, Campus Safety officers should be available 24/7 and can be contacted at 864-597-4911 at any time during the day or night.

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When Mareli Sanchez, resident advisor for Phase IV, tried calling Campus Safety, no one answered. According to the Campus Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, students, faculty and staff are instructed to call campus safety as soon as a fire alarm goes off.

The report states that “notification of Campus Safety ensures that officer can immediately respond, often before the alarm monitoring company can call the office.”

“I’ve had the experience before where I’ve called them and they haven’t answered,” Allsbrook says. “So it seems like it’s a consistent problem, and I’m not sure why it’s occurring.”

At around 10:40 a.m., the fire truck pulled into the Village. The firefighters asked Sanchez and the gathered students where the alarm panel was located between the four apartments, which is information believed to be held by Campus Safety.

“I don’t know if it would be more efficient, but it definitely took the people from the fire department awhile to find the fire panel, which is something Campus Safety definitely has a part in,” says resident senior Angela Ditolla.

Additionally, the firefighters relied on Sanchez and the gathered students to open the apartment doors.

According to Allsbrook, a firefighter walked to Campus Safety’s station next to the Village laundry room only to find it empty. Senior and resident Jordan Crosby asked passing firefighters if they had managed to contact Campus Safety. One firefighter said they had not and speculated that the officers were off-duty.

The displaced students suggested that overcooked bacon was the culprit for the alarm due to the smell in the air. Though there was no fire, Ditolla says it’s concerning that contact with Campus Safety was never made.

“I definitely would’ve liked to know that they cared that something was happening to us,” Ditolla says.

Campus Safety’s official report shows that no fires occurred between 2012 and 2014, though numbers have not been released for the current year. The Plans for Future Improvement in Fire Safety states that efforts will be made to “ensure appropriate access for emergency responders on Evins Street and the Village in particularly.”

The report does not sate plans regarding Campus Safety’s response times.

In the aftermath of the alarms, Allsbrook gave one final statement:

“Where the heck was Campus Safety?”

 

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