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November 14, 2003

More Lighting and Other Projects at ULM Lead to Students Feeling Safer on Campus

Officials at the University of Louisiana at Monroe are constantly working on ways to increase safety for their students. Numerous projects that are both new and on-going contribute to the overall safety at ULM. For many of these projects, ULM students, administrators and police worked together for the good of the University.

In a recent letter to ULM employees, President of ULM James Cofer pointed out that "Work has just begun on the installation of improved lighting throughout campus. Currently, higher wattage, brighter lights are being installed in several parking lots. In addition, the old fixtures will be replaced with decorative poles and fixtures that also provide brighter lighting. The plan is to install approximately 200 new light poles and fixtures over the next few months."

"Perception is everything," Larry Ellerman, Chief of Police said about the installation of new lights. "We wanted to make this campus appear brighter and more welcoming, so that students feel comfortable being on campus at night."

ULM's Division of Student Affairs and the ULM Police Department worked on several other initiatives including increased police patrol and visibility. Students helped by making suggestions to UPD on what they thought would be good improvements to campus safety.

ULM Student Erin Sherry said she does feel safe on campus. "As a senior, I have seen several changes in the last four years. It is nice to see the new lighting on campus. It is usually very well lit when I am here at night time."

One way Ellerman said they were making the campus safer, in addition to vehicle patrols, is to have an officer be a "walker and talker". This officer talks to students and faculty and gives them hints on how to be safer and listens to any questions or concerns they might have. Ellerman said it is important to have an officer visible on campus.

According to a study by the United States Department of Education, ULM showed a 50% decrease in crime from the 2000-2001 academic year to the 2001-2002 year.

In May of 2002, Noel Levitz Consulting firm conducted research which showed prospective college bound students ranked campus safety and security second in importance behind availability of majors. For ULM, results of the 2003 ACT Student Opinion Survey released last summer echoed that claim when it showed drastic improvements in student satisfaction with "personal security and safety" in 2003 as compared to 2002.

*Other changes made at ULM are:
*Enforced noise ordinances in and around residence halls
*Removed shrubbery on campus that impaired vision
*Created a UPD SUB station in Sherrouse Hall
*Locked all Exterior Exit Doors on female Halls, changed locks, and repaired and replaced with new alarms.
*Installed new emergency call boxes
*Added 2 community police officers to walk the campus
*UPD bike patrols at night

"We have been working with the students to ensure that their needs are heard," said Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Wayne Brumfield. "Involving students in this effort helped unify the campus so that everyone is working toward a common goal. The bottom line is to create a safe environment for students to learn."

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