SGA proposes bill to increase amount of emergency call boxes on campus

The Student Government Association voted bills through first passage that would implement more emergency call boxes and a gender-neutral restroom during a formal senate meeting on March 3.

Both bills are in the beginning stages of development, but could have a significant impact on the structure of campus.

S.R. 22, a bill proposed by Sen. Jamie Cardenas, calls for dialogue on providing more emergency call boxes or other safety measures around campus.

The bill aims to be proactive in an effort to deter danger and assaults rather than reactionary.

While St. Edward’s University has 12 emergency call boxes dispersed throughout campus, the senate discussed that other college campuses tend to have a greater amount of call boxes.

They’re located in a pattern so students can run in any direction toward a call box in the case of an emergency.

As they have in the past SGA proposed more emergency call boxes around campus, the cost effectiveness of the boxes is a concern of the senate given that demand has not necessarily translated into usage of the call boxes by students.

With this in mind, the bill is open to implementing call boxes or cheaper alternative safety measures such as a phone app.

“Watching [call boxes] all the time is really, really expensive and that’s the reason why they’re not really running and functioning the way that they should be,” Sen. Paola Gallegos said.

Much of the dialogue regarding emergency call boxes has taken place with the University Police Department, who patrol heavily around nighttime to ensure students’ safety in the absence of a greater amount of call boxes.

“I’ve spoken with students as well as staff members who definitely see the huge benefit with them,” Cardenas said. “I think especially speaking with other women, they feel it more so than a lot of men, and I think that’s just because of different privileges that genders hold.”

Cardenas also said the bill comes partly in response to an assault of a female student last semester on the St. Edward’s track.

The other bill in the works that would alter campus structures is S.R. 24, which calls for more gender-neutral restrooms around campus. Currently, gender-neutral restrooms exist only in the Fine Arts Building, Health & Counseling Center and Andre Hall.

Proposed by Chief of Staff Kyle Thomas, S.R. 24 aims to have a gender-neutral restroom in the Ragsdale Center since it is a common area that many students convene in.

“The LGBT community is growing and we strive for social justice here at St. Edward’s, so I think this would be great start,” Thomas said.

Given the potential expenses and early stages both S.R. 22 and 24 are in, it could be some time before the university sees more emergency call boxes and gender neutral restrooms.