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2015 Campus Safety Report

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2015 Campus Safety Report

  1. 1. 1 FEDERATION OF STUDENTS CAMPUS SAFETY TASK FORCE Report on campus safety issues and recommendations to Council April 4th 2015 Prepared by Maaz Yasin (Feds VP Internal vpin@feds.ca) Hannah Beckett Carly McCready Chris Lolas
  2. 2. 2 Contents Executive summary of all recommendations ..............................................................................................................3 Purpose ......................................................................................................................................................................4 Issue 1: Absence of student group dedicated to safety ..............................................................................................4 Recommendation 1: Creation of standing Safety Advisory Committee ......................................................................4 Issue 2: University of Waterloo currently does not offer a WalkSafe program............................................................4 Recommendation 2: Advocate strategically and focus on campus safety ..................................................................4 Issue 3: Lack of adequate lighting in certain parts of campus ....................................................................................4 Recommendation 3: Work with Housing, Residence and College Councils to address inadequacies in campus lighting........................................................................................................................................................................4 Issue 4: Ring Road poses safety concerns to pedestrians and cyclists......................................................................5 Recommendation 4: Advocate for better signage, designated crosswalks on Ring Road, and explore the use of traffic calming devices ................................................................................................................................................5 Issue 5: Internal pathways covered in snow and ice pose safety and accessibility concerns.....................................5 Recommendation 5: Increase awareness about reporting unsafe conditions and look into delayed opening of campus after major snow events................................................................................................................................5 Issue 6: Regional Paramedic Services (EMS) do not have information on campus buildings and rely on UW Police to escort them.............................................................................................................................................................6 Recommendation 6: Work with Regional EMS and Waterloo Fire Rescue to share campus building maps and schematics with paramedics to decrease reliance on UW Police...............................................................................6 Issue 7: Lack of awareness about UW Police Services and their role........................................................................6 Recommendation 7: Carry out awareness campaigns, and facilitate better integration between UW Police and student groups............................................................................................................................................................6 Issue 8: Improve the safety and effectiveness of the current Shuttle Program...........................................................6 Recommendation 8: Create complaint mechanism for shuttle service and explore increasing the service area........6 Recommendation 9: Consult with marginalized groups to identify and address unique concerns..............................7
  3. 3. 3 Executive summary of all recommendations 1.Create standing Safety Advisory Committee 2.Advocate strategically and focus on campus safety 3.Work with Housing, Residence and College Councils to address inadequacies in campus lighting 4.Advocate for better signage, designated crosswalks on Ring Road, and explore the use of traffic calming devices 5.Increase awareness about reporting unsafe conditions and look into delayed opening of campus after major snow events 6.Work with Regional EMS and Waterloo Fire Rescue to share campus building maps and schematics with paramedics to decrease reliance on UW Police 7.Carry out awareness campaigns, and facilitate better integration between UW Police and student groups 8.Create complaint mechanism for shuttle service and explore increasing the service area 9.Consult with marginalized groups to identify and address unique concerns
  4. 4. 4 Purpose The purpose of this document is to summarize the over-arching safety concerns that the Task Force identified based on numerous student consultation that has been done at UW over the past 36 months. This document also proposes action items for the 2015-2016 year. Issue 1: Absence of student group dedicated to safety The Federation of Students, nor the Graduate Students’ Association has a designated student representative or committee tasked with dealing with student safety issues on campus. Students do not have a clearly defined person or body they can bring their safety concerns to. Recommendation 1: Creation of standing Safety Advisory Committee The Task Force recommends that a permanent standing body be created to deal with safety issues that affect UW students. The Task Force recommends that the scope of this committee include: 1. Constant student consultation 2. Termly identification of safety issues 3. Creation of policies related to campus safety 4. Supporting advocacy efforts to address safety issues The Task Force recommends at least 3 at-large students be part of this standing committee in addition to a representative from UW Police Services as a resource member. Issue 2: University of Waterloo currently does not offer a walk-home service A walk home program has been discussed several times in the past 3 years. The WalkSafe program has been the subject of many surveys and studies. Recommendation 2: Advocate strategically and focus on campus safety The Task Force looked at all the data from past focus groups, surveys and studies regarding the implementation of a WalkSafe program. The Task Force also considered the effectiveness of a WalkSafe program in the context of campus safety. Based on one of the recommendations of the 2013 Safety Programs Committee report, the Task Force is recommends that the Federation of Students: 1. Focus its attention on improving the existing Shuttle Program and its awareness 2. Advocate to have the On-Campus Shuttle Service be dispatch based 3. Have the standing committee (mentioned above) evaluate the need for a WalkSafe program every year 4. Continue exploring the feasibility of a Feds-run WalkSafe program Issue 3: Lack of adequate lighting in certain parts of campus The Task Force identified inadequate lighting on campus pathways as a safety issue that needed to be addressed. Recommendation 3: Work with Housing, Residence and College Councils to address inadequacies in campus lighting The pathways on the western end of campus, especially the pathway connecting Ron Eydt Village with the Affiliated Colleges were deemed as having inadequate lighting. The Task Force recommended that Feds’ work with the university to improve the lighting on this pathway as an immediate next step. Additionally, the Task Force
  5. 5. 5 recommended that the Residence Council along with student councils from the Affiliated Colleges be consulted to help identify other areas on campus that lack adequate lighting. Issue 4: Ring Road poses safety concerns to pedestrians and cyclists Ring Road has a lot of blind curves and areas where pedestrian traffic is very high. A lack of speed bumps and/or signage combined with a lack of designated cross walks on Ring Road pose a safety risk to pedestrians. Pedestrians being uncertain about where to cross Ring Road from, and motorists exercising their right of way unless they come across a stop sign creates an environment that becomes inherently unsafe for pedestrians on campus. Additionally, a significant proportion of the campus community use bicycles as their primary means of transport in the warmer months. However, there is little to no signage on Ring Road informing motorists to share the road or be mindful of cyclists. This creates a culture where cyclists feel unsafe riding on Ring Road and resort to riding their bicycles on pedestrian pathways, which is contrary to municipal bylaws where cyclists are required to use the street and not the sidewalks. Recommendation 4: Advocate for better signage, designated crosswalks on Ring Road, and explore the use of traffic calming devices Traffic calming devices such as speed bumps and humps are already employed on Ring Road. The Task Force recommends that the effectiveness of these devices be investigated and the implementation of additional devices be considered as long as it is not detrimental to campus safety (due to increased response time of emergency vehicles, or distracting motorists). The Task Force strongly recommends the implementation of Sharrows on the University of Waterloo campus roads. Sharrows are a road-painted sign telling motorists to share the road with cyclists. Cities across North America have adopted Sharrows to promote bike-friendly communities. Most recently, in 2014, the City of Kitchener adopted Sharrows on the busiest sections of King Street in Downtown Kitchener1 . The Task Force also recommends that Feds advocate for implementation of pedestrian cross walks in high traffic areas on Ring Road. Issue 5: Internal pathways covered in snow and ice pose safety and accessibility concerns During the winter months, there are many internal campus pathways that students have reported as being unsafe for walking. There is a Plant Operations reporting system however most students do not know about it. Recommendation 5: Increase awareness about reporting unsafe conditions and look into delayed opening of campus after major snow events During major snow events, the University either takes the decision to stay open or close completely. The Task Force recommends that a third option of a partial morning closure be looked into. A delayed opening would allow for all the pathways to be cleared. This option would be viable in situations where there has been a significant overnight/early morning snow/ice storm but is expected to dissipate into the morning hours. The Task Force also recommends improving communication and transparency around the Plant Ops reporting process for unsafe walkways 1 http://www.therecord.com/sports-story/3243693-sharrows-pave-the-way-for-cyclists-in-downtown-kitchener/
  6. 6. 6 Issue 6: Regional Paramedic Services (EMS) do not have information on campus buildings and rely on UW Police to escort them The Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services (formerly EMS) respond to 911 calls made by students due to a medical emergency. The average response time for an ambulance to the UW campus in the event of a life threatening emergency is more than 11 minutes2 . When the ambulance does arrive on campus, it has to be escorted to the actual location of the emergency by UW Police Services because the Paramedics do not have the same building information that Waterloo Fire Rescue has. This creates the potential for a delay in the arrival of life saving help especially if UW Police is not able to escort the ambulance as soon as it arrives on campus Recommendation 6: Work with Regional EMS and Waterloo Fire Rescue to share campus building maps and schematics with paramedics to decrease reliance on UW Police The Task Force’s stance is that if firefighters are able to find their way around campus, then paramedics should be able to do so too. The Task Force recommends Feds’ work with appropriate personnel from local fire and EMS services to ensure paramedics responding to life threatening emergencies on the UW campus are not hampered by confusion of where to go on campus or having to wait for a UW Police escort. Issue 7: Lack of awareness about UW Police Services and their role Many students do not know about the University of Waterloo Police Services, the role they play, the services they offer and how they can be reached. Recommendation 7: Carry out awareness campaigns, and facilitate better integration between UW Police and student groups The Task Force recommends that all Feds’ Services incorporate the role of UW Police Services in their respective volunteer training. Additionally, the Task Force recommends better promotion of the UW Police phone number, services offered by UW Police (Serial number registrations, bike theft investigation etc.) through awareness campaigns. Issue 8: Improve the safety and effectiveness of the current Shuttle Program Students are do not have a centralized location to send in any complaints or feedback regarding the Shuttle service. Additionally, the current boundary of the Off Campus Shuttle service does not include several neighbourhoods in the City of Waterloo that students commonly reside in. Recommendation 8: Create feedback mechanism for shuttle service and explore increasing the service area The Task Force strongly believes that students who ride the shuttle service should feel safe doing so. In cases where they have safety concerns, the Task Force recommends there be a prominently advertised anonymous reporting system. Additionally, the Task Force recommends looking into the feasibility of increasing the area that the Off Campus Shuttle services. 2 http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/waterloo-region-ambulance-response-times-all-trending-in-the-right-direction-chief-1.1956588
  7. 7. 7 Recommendation 9: Consult with marginalized groups to identify and address unique concerns The Task Force recognizes that women, members of the LGBTQQ community and other marginalized groups face unique challenges when it comes to safety on campus. The Task Force recommended that the standing committee of Council consult with these student groups on a termly basis.

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