Blue lights come to the panther blue campus

The Georgia State University Police Precent on campus. Located near Woodruff Park. Photo by Harry Wyman | The Signal

Police called on tardy students:

On Mar. 30, two students at the Newton perimeter campus were late to class. Their professor called campus police on the two students in response to this. 

Against what the professor may have hoped for, the students did not receive any disciplinary action against them. 

The professor has since been removed from teaching in-person classes.

While the students faced no unjust disciplinary action from the professor or campus police, this incident points to a more significant issue between faculty, students and safety measures at Georgia State.

Since this incident, meetings between the Dean of Students Michael Sanseviro, Chief of GSU Police Anthony Coleman, Georgia State Provost Nicolle Parsons-Pollard and Speaker of the Atlanta Senate Ira Livnat have occurred to rectify this situation and discuss improvements in campus safety.

In response to the Newton campus incident, Chief Coleman will develop a training video for all Georgia State faculty on properly using Georgia State safety measures such as campus police. The Office of the Provost will mandate this training university-wide.

Blue Light Initiative:

While this situation may be over, there is still need for an extended conversation about the safety of students on Georgia State campuses. 

Each week on the Atlanta campus, there are two to three reported cases of students being the victims of physical crimes such as theft, assault or sexual harassment. 

GSU PD and Speaker Livnat are spearheading a new initiative to install blue light security boxes around campus.

These blue lights are designed to deter crime before it happens. These lights will be placed all around campus, allowing students to be in touch with authorities at the press of a button. 

Blue lights are also placed near security cameras, letting everyone know that things done within their light are recorded.

This factor is used in tandem with increased GSU PD patrol cars shining the same blue lights as these boxes. 

This security increase is intended to create an atmosphere where would-be criminals are deterred by the blue lights, believing a law enforcement officer could be just around the corner.

This initiative’s intention to create both a reality and a perception of safety is an important matter for Speaker Livnat.

In an interview with the Signal, Livnat explained this dynamic. “We need to make sure students are safe, but they also need to feel safe. We get into a big issue with mental health when students don’t feel like it is safe to go out somewhere.” 

A supply chain shortage of the necessary technology and a lack of personnel are cited as reasons why more blue lights and cameras haven’t been set up around campus by GSU PD.

This lack of personnel has led GSU police to hire private security firms to fill the gaps in their duties.

Livnat takes issue with these reasons. In the interview, he stated. 

“It’s a simple thing they can do to increase the safety environment. It’s a bad situation, but it doesn’t excuse us from addressing the problem. If the University can spend thousands of dollars on stadiums and parking garages, they can put money towards safety.”

Livnat believes that this blue light initiative would serve as an excellent first step toward repairing the strained relationship between campus police and the student body. 

If you would like a way to have your campus’ first responders available in your pocket, download the Live Safe app and use your Georgia State login.

While the blue light initiative may not eliminate crime at Georgia State, its completion would serve to better students’ lives on all Georgia State campuses.