Senate discusses campus safety, construction

By Molley Agapiou

The Student Senate searched for a solution to make SMU a safer campus at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“My goal is to make SMU the number one safest school in the nation,” said President of the SMU Faculty Senate Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner.

Stevenson-Moessner spoke about the buildings around campus and the different ways the classroom doors open and whether or not they lock. The variation of door functionality inhibits campus safety in the case of an active shooter, Stevenson-Moessner said. There is not one universal procedure that students and faculty can use if a shooting were to occur. Some doors lock from the outside while others do not even lock at all.

The Senate discussed mandatory safety drills to ensure preparation. Stevenson-Moessner insisted that SMU’s risk management team walk the entire faculty through the buildings’ structures and functions, so they would know how to secure the classrooms if needed.

SMU is not prepared for any shooting, Chair of the Communications Committee Claire Hermeling said. Residential Assistants of SMU’s commons are given little to no training on what to do if such a situation arose.

The residential commons are not built with the thought of an intruder or active shooter in mind. Hermeling suggested that a safety team be brought in to determine where there are safe spots for students to hide.

Other student senators stood and voiced their opinions on how to make SMU a safer campus. Ideas ranged from natural disaster preparation to sexual assault prevention. Programming the blue emergency lights to activate surrounding building cameras when it is pressed to capture a 360-degree view would help protect our students from potential predators, Senator Kelsey Shipman said.

Along with campus safety talk, the Student Senate celebrated the First-Year Senators first chamber meeting with cake followed by swearing the six members in.

The Senate meeting also discussed new building plans for the upcoming school years. An indoor performance center will replace Wescott Field once 80% of the funds are raised. The project is expected to begin in the 2018-2019 school year. Beginning in May, Moore Hall will be replaced with a new parking structure to accommodate churchgoers and students.

Senate members raised concern of the construction blocking crucial walkways for students, including the path between Wescott Field and Ford Stadium.

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Editor’s note on Sept. 15 at 3:42 p.m.:  The quote “Boaz is a shooter’s playground”  by Hermeling was removed because the quote was attributed to Hermeling when Hermeling was referencing another person’s words.  

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