Emma Oliver I The Hawkeye
You’ve probably noticed them all around Ybor City campus … blue emergency call boxes meant to ensure the safety of HCC students, faculty, and staff. The problem is, they are all out of service. This loss of protection is noticed at the Ybor City campus, the only HCC open campus that is surrounded by nightclubs, bars, and a rising homeless population. Students spoke to The Hawkeye to share their opinion on the issue.
Deceni Sauzo stated, “I feel like it’s more prevalent to have them here than it is to have them at any other campus because when it’s nighttime and there are people at clubs anything could happen and there could be any drunken driver, you don’t know, this world is crazy, stuff happens on the fly.” The concentration of nightlife in Ybor City is immense when students take night classes, some feel more uneasy compared to other campuses.
Another student, Nicolasa Fernandez, said, “I think especially here in Ybor, they should fix it because there’s a lot of different people not just students around, so a lot of people need that safety.”
According to a Saint Leo University study “robberies, aggravated assault and simple assault have reached an all-time high in Ybor City.” The studies show that the need for these emergency stands ould be at an all-time high. This remains especially true following the presence of a serial killer in nearby Seminole Heights just two years ago.
Last Spring semester, Jason Turner, wrote an article on an alternative to these blue emergency call boxes that the college had implemented.
The alternative was an app for Androids and iPhones called “Hawk Guardian.”
The problem is it is a little known app, and what happens if your phone cannot access this app or your phone is dead?
Suazo explained a scenario, “Say somebody’s phone just died, what if there’s a shooter in a whole other building, and then I’m in this building, OK, well, I can’t call 911.”
The point is clear that a phone is not always going to be there to save you. The college holds a responsibility to its students that they will take every measure to ensure their safety, and it is evident inside classrooms. Each classroom is equipped with an emergency phone.
But what about around campus?
An easy measure the college can take is simply fixing the emergency stands that are already on campus. When several public safety officers were asked what is being done to fix them, one didn’t even know they were all out of service; another did not want to comment on the issue.
But student, Flor Cabrera had something to say, “Students would probably get mad knowing that they’re not fixing that considering that safety issues are more on our mind than other issues, so it’s probably better that they start with that first just to calm down students.” School safety concerns in the United States are at a peak, and HCC students want to know they are safe on their campus.
These emergency stands can serve as a safety outlet in times of crisis, as in a press of a button, help may arrive.
The HCC Public Safety Office did not respond to The Hawkeye on the issue of these emergency call boxes. Hopefully, they will hear their student’s opinions and do something about it.
Only time will tell if these stands will be fixed, or if the college will provide another safety alternative.