Starting Aug. 28, various buildings on campus will require a Panther Card for entry after 8 p.m. These buildings include Classroom South, Langdale Hall, Library North, Library South and Student Center East. The full list of buildings can be found at https://safety.gsu.edu/ under the “Safety and You” tab.
In April, Georgia State hosted a safety town hall after raising concerns about the delays in communication between GSUPD and students involving events that transpired in the weeks prior. Specifically, a house party escalated into the streets that took place blocks away from Georgia State’s on-campus housing on April 2, resulting in heavy property damage and shots being fired.
The town hall allowed students to speak directly with University President Brian Blake, Chief Coleman of GSUPD and staff members at Georgia State. Students raised their safety concerns, asked questions about what can be changed and spoke on their experiences with feeling unsafe on campus.
This new security precaution addresses concerns about who should have access to the buildings and facilities on campus. Before this development, most of the university’s buildings had no methods to prevent people not affiliated with the university from entering its buildings. This meant that anyone from the downtown area could walk down the halls of Langdale and Classroom South, or sit in the lobby of Student Center East.
Student Center East was one of the largest areas of concern when addressing building access.
Monica Graham, an Administrative Specialist at the Student Center brought up the safety issues with the building back in April. Graham, as the overseer of the students working at the Student Center’s information desk, spoke about the experiences her students have had to face.
“We actually have folks who, on a regular basis, just come and kind of harass our students,” Graham said. “We have a panic button that unfortunately my students have to use, and they shouldn’t have to.”
The lack of security concerns more than just students in the building. Graham says that the issue affects all workers.
“My students don’t feel safe, and I’m not just speaking for my students, but also building managers.”
The university wrote in an email to students announcing these changes and that they are hopeful the implementation of these security measures will help “control and monitor who is in our spaces after regular business hours.”
The Panther Express, Georgia State’s bus system was also discussed at the town hall. Students spoke on their concerns about the scheduling of the buses, and how they did not quite match when students needed them. Specifically, they spoke about the issues surrounding the library closing at 2 a.m. on weekdays while buses from the student center weren’t scheduled past midnight. This left students walking alone at night for hours between midnight and 2 a.m. The bus schedule has now been extended to 2 a.m. in response to this problem. This change started late last Spring and will continue for the foreseeable future.
Other changes include designating 55 Park Place and University Commons as “Panther Places.” Panther Places are locations across campus that are newly staffed with 24-hour security, seven days a week. These new secured areas are part of the university’s new “campus wayfinding initiative” according to an announcement made by the university’s Executive Vice President Jared Abramson. Details about this new initiative have not yet been released.