BY THE CONCORD STAFF
Emergency poles are situated around Bellarmine University’s campus so that one is always visible. They are instruments of security and safety, but four of the 10 poles have signs stating, “This station is inoperable at the time. Repair in progress,” along with the phone number for the Department of Public Safety.
At least four poles have been “inoperable at the time” for four weeks or longer. Why have emergency poles if they are “inoperable” for weeks at a time?
Additionally, students have not been notified at any point that four of the poles do not currently function.
The Department of Public Safety has a responsibility to be transparent with the student body about issues that undermine their safety in any way.
Because the emergency poles are installed throughout campus and highlighted as an instrument of safety during campus tours, The Concord staff expects them to function properly.
“It makes me uncomfortable [that the poles don’t work],” freshman Megan Alexander said.
Alexander studies in the library often, sometimes until as late as 3 a.m., and she said walking back in the dark by herself can be unnerving.
The extra sense of security that the emergency poles normally bring is compromised if almost half of them do not currently function.
One nonfunctioning emergency pole causes special concern: the pole in the parking lot of Nolen C. Allen Hall, which is separated from the rest of Bellarmine’s campus by Newburg Road.
Freshman Lena Miles has an afternoon class in Allen Hall, but she said if her class was at night she would be “very concerned” by the broken pole.
“It [Allen Hall] is very isolated and the shuttles aren’t there all the time,” Miles said.
If an accident were to occur or if a danger were to present itself, it would be difficult to reach the main campus quickly enough to get help.
Junior Sanjin Mehicic also pointed out the emergency poles are not meant solely for emergencies involving a threat from another person.
“What about handicapped people who can’t run to get someone when they have an emergency?” Mehicic said.
If a medical emergency were to happen in the quad or the parking lot in front of the Siena complex, a physically disabled person would have an extremely difficult time accessing a functioning emergency pole.
According to Facilities Management personnel, the responsibility to fix the poles lies with the Department of Public Safety (Security).
Multiple attempts were made to contact Director of the Department of Public Safety Joseph Frye, but he did not return emails and declined an in-person interview because the reporter approached him during his lunch break.
This leaves many questions unanswered.
How are the poles supposed to function?
How often are they used?
When did Security recognize there was an issue?
How was it brought to their attention that poles were broken?
Why wasn’t the student body notified of the broken poles?
As students, we deserve to be informed on issues that affect the security of our campus.
Technological issues are understandable as long as they are resolved in a timely manner and students are informed promptly.
However, having an issue as big as four broken emergency poles unresolved and leaving the student body uninformed on the issue is unacceptable.