The Digital Bullpen
Safety Buttons Installed On Campus As Security Precaution
Over winter break, University of South Florida took action in hopes of making its Tampa campus safer by installing red emergency buttons across campus in 11 populated rooms such as lecture halls.
The campus facilities team, along with the information technology team and emergency management, designed the buttons to work specifically for the campus and its access control systems.
“They work with our building control access system,” Assistant Director of Communications Aaron Nichols said. “It’s the same system that on a schedule will lock and unlock the doors in buildings at night and then they unlock in the morning. When you hit a button, it activates that system and it locks the perimeter access doors for an area.”
Campus shootings have become fairly common over the last couple of years. According to the Washington Times, 142 school shootings occurred nationwide since the Sandy Hook shooting in October 2015.
“I feel like it makes sense,” USF student Qua’on Thomas said. “It’s kind of good to be proactive versus reactive. So I could see why they would do it.”
Once one of these buttons is pushed, only campus police or a facilities manager can unlock the doors. Pushing the button doesn’t automatically alert police, so students still have to dial 911 after pushing the button.
“I think that it’s important that people feel safe,” Thomas said. “It’s not about having it to actually prevent something, but just having people know that they are thinking about their safety.”