Students discuss safety concerns during university police listening session

Wichita State students discussed issues regarding the University Police Department during a listening session on Wednesday evening.

The discussion was put on by the Student Government Association and was open to all students, offering them a chance to voice any questions, comments, or concerns they had concerning campus police.

The first topic that was discussed involved the way campus police handles their communications. One student raised their concerns after filing a police report and then losing contact with campus police until one month later.

The discussion then moved on to the campus police department’s handling of racial and diversity issues. 

SGA Treasurer Zachary James raised the question as to why multiple police cars are present on a simple traffic stop on campus. He said this situation can put people more on edge, especially people of color.

“Things like that are kind of hurting or not helping them actually, when it comes to the engagement with communities of color and how safe we feel on campus,” James said.

SGA Senator Grant Day then brought up the involvement that campus police have with the mental health response system at WSU. 

“Cops are not mental health professionals. They’re not trained as mental health professionals,” Day said.

It was also pointed out that the innovation campus does not have enough blue emergency lights in place. As a common walking area, the group expressed concerns about the safety problems that could arise from this.

The last issue discussed was the increase in visitors on campus with the addition of the Steve Clark YMCA and the businesses at Braeburn Square. 

SGA Senator Ambrosia Naramore-Winfrey suggested creating a system to report instances to campus police that involve a visitor on campus not following safety guidelines. 

“With the pandemic slowing down slowly but surely as well, that will become more of a problem in the Fall,” Day said.