CEDAR FALLS, Iowa- The Iowa Board of Regents heard a committee report on Campus Safety here on Friday.
The report took on heightened interest after the September death of ISU Golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena. She was murdered while golfing near campus in broad daylight. Her death heightened awareness of safety for students on campus.
Iowa State Department of Public Safety Chief Michael Newton said he has been meeting with campus groups to create a Neighbor Watch program with dorm programs, to help students look out for each other. He also described as new phone app service called Guardian, which will launch after the holidays, offering a safe escort home to people concerned about safety. He also outlined plans to address some homeless persons, who come onto campus.
“We have a large number of homeless individuals that seem to frequent the campus environment,” said Newton. “We’re actually going to have an outreach team, partnered with Ames Police, ISU Police to go out an help the homeless individuals find temporary housing.”
Arozamena’s accused attacker was living in a homeless camp nearby ISU’s campus.
“We continue to evaluate lighting, there never seems to be enough lighting,” said Newton. “Some areas are purposely not lit well, because we don’t want students to go there.”
Newton said his officers are also trying to be more visible on campus with foot and bike patrols.
Newton said ISU also offers a Safe Ride program, which last year helped 23,000 riders.
“After the death of Celia we got a lot of requests, especially since it gets dark earlier,” said Newton. They have gotten funding to offer the rides earlier in the evening.
The school also works to improve it’s external cameras monitoring campus.
While not directly a safety issue, ISU’s President Dr. Wendy Wintersteen shared with the Regents news of a new scholarship.
“The campus continues to remember Celia and to think about her spirit, “ said Wintersteen. “We’ve created an endowed scholarship in her home department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.”