Some of the blue light phones, which can be used to report emergencies on campus, have been out for years. After working for a solution since her sophomore year without much progress, Associated Student Body Vice President Charlotte Shackelford may finally see them fixed with the help of Chancellor Glenn Boyce.
Shackelford ran on the promise of repairing the blue lights last spring, and now she and Boyce are working together to fulfill it.
Just after being announced as the new chancellor, Boyce said that he wanted to put students at the center of important conversations at the university. Since then, he has been meeting with campus constituents, mostly privately.
The emergency blue lights are part of a system from Code Blue, the leading manufacturer for emergency phones, according to Code Blue’s chief design officer David Fleming.
The lights were initially created after the University of Illinois at Chicago put out an all-call to inventors to create something to keep students safe on campus as a result of the Clery Act being signed in 1990 after 19-year-old Jeanne Clery was sexually assaulted and murdered at Lehigh University.
Shackelford said that she has been trying to fix the lights since her sophomore year, her first year in the ASB Senate. She worked with the University Police Department and those in charge of the LiveSafe app but was told that it was not feasible, she said.
“I worked with previous administrators that basically just slammed the door my face and said, ‘No,’” Shackelford said. “Boyce was the first person to give me a yes.”
Shackelford said that Boyce thought it was unbelievable that no one else tried to fix the emergency blue lights before him.
“He recently followed up with me at the end of last semester (to let me know) that he’s taking a golf cart ride around campus and identifying all the blue lights that need work,” Shackelford said.
Boyce could not be reached by the time of publication.
The ASB Infrastructure Committee is also taking a look at the emergency blue lights to help fix them.
Ella Endorf, a sophomore public policy leadership major and a member of Shackelford’s campaign for vice president, said that she was not aware of the issue with the blue lights on campus until she heard about it from the campaign.
“Having easy access to UPD made me feel very safe on campus, and it was part of the reason I ended up choosing Ole Miss. I’ve never felt unsafe on campus, but having the blue lights gives my parents peace of mind since I’m thirteen hours away from home,” Endorf said.
“I wasn’t pleased to hear that they didn’t work, but I’m very optimistic for the changes that are going to be made. I know it’s an issue that students and administration can both get behind, and I’m excited to see what changes will be made regarding student safety and comfort in the future.”