TSU making improvements to keep campus safer

WSMV's Tosin Fakile reports on new emergency call boxes at TSU.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Tennessee State University wants to make access to campus security in times of emergency a little easier for visitors to campus.

The university upgraded Code Blue emergency towers around campus to keep students safer. It is part of the university’s 10-point safety plan that has been ongoing since 2015.

The new call boxes in this phase of the safety plan are at the parking lot by John Merritt Boulevard, student apartments and a parking lot on Claire Avenue.

“We’re replacing them. We are replacing the ones that are obsolete and we added some new ones,” TSU Associate Vice President for Administration Curtis Johnson said.

“I’m glad that they are doing things to help with the safety,” sophomore Xia Parchman said.

“I feel like we needed something like that because there’s a lot of stuff going on on campus,” sophomore Nariah Butler said. “I think it’s going to make people feel better than what they were.”

Butler said she feels safe on campus but appreciates the ease this provides to getting help.

“It’s more convenient so you don’t have to pick up your phone and call somebody, you can just press a button,” Butler said.

The university said these call boxes have improvements which include brighter lights so students can see them from a distance and equipped with 360 cameras that pan, tilt and zoom.

“Should the person encounter an incident or need emergency help, the person would go to the call box and press the button, and the button would immediately ring in Campus Security safety, and they should dispatch someone,” Johnson said. “In the meantime, those that have cameras already built into them will be able to see them and see what’s going around them and alert the responding officer as to what is going on.”

WSMV asked the university what kind of crimes it is seeing and how they hope the improved call boxes will help.

“Someone may come along the campus and have an argument, petty things that occur,” Johnson said. “We don’t want any vehicles broken into. We don’t want anything to happen to anyone on the campus.”

The goal is to have all the installation complete before homecoming next weekend.

“During homecoming a lot of stuff always goes on, so I think this is going to be something good for the campus, not just as students wise, but outside student wise,” Butler said.

TSU said it already installed about 20 call boxes over the years as part of its safety plan that’s been ongoing since 2015.

As for what other safety measures can be expected, the university said it will continue adding fencing and lighting and make other improvements as the campus grows.