In the last two weeks, Salt Lake Community College students, staff and officials have taken to different campuses to participate in walkabouts designed to gather feedback about security and accessibility on school grounds.
The walks were set to begin at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus on Sept. 19, but turbulent weather caused a rescheduling, and so the first complete walk occurred at the South City Campus on the evening of Sept. 21. The walk at Jordan Campus followed on Sept. 24, and the most recent walk took place Thursday at the newly constructed Herriman Campus.
During each walk, the attending group made their way around campus, seeking to identify areas for improvement in campus safety and accessibility.
“The reason these walkabouts are so crucial is that they ensure we acknowledge our accessibility and disability downfalls,” said Teneisa Lincoln, administrative assistant for the Dean of Students office. “It’s so important that all SLCC students can access our campuses.”
South City walkabout
Feedback provided by participants at the South City Campus walk identified multiple accessibility issues around the building’s exterior. The first thing the group noticed was that the front steps leading to the Grand Theatre are made of granite. While beautiful, they’re also highly slick when wet, participants found.
The group proceeded to brainstorm a mutual solution: reflective tape. Its use, the group surmised, would both highlight the steps for the visually impaired and provide tread to make them easier to walk on in wet conditions.
Moving around the south side of the building next, Peter Moosman, manager of the school’s Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center, pointed out a wheelchair-accessible parking spot whose blue sign was being blocked by overgrown shrubbery. A few feet away, a corner of darkness hung over a portion of the southern walkway, the result of a tree blocking the light post that stood tall above.
Wielding a clipboard, Lincoln diligently wrote down the group’s recommendations, taking note of the hedge trimming that would be required.
As participants pointed out issues that they noticed, Lincoln‘s notes grew with mentions of dim and/or broken floodlights; dark, untreated wheelchair ramps; and faintly painted crosswalks. It was a fully collaborative effort, and Lincoln later released a report to all registered attendees detailing the findings from each walkabout.
“We want to make sure we’re aware of things that can be improved,” Lincoln said of the walk’s purpose. “And that students, staff and faculty, and community members as a whole are able to access the campus and stay safe while they’re here.”
Safety extends beyond re-painting crosswalks, but the group did recommend that the crosswalk near the childcare building on South City Campus’s north side be repainted and that a yellow traffic sign – reading “children at play” – be installed.
Beyond the campus’s potential for physical improvements, participants were able to meet with SLCC security officials during the walk to learn about what they do to keep SLCC campuses safe year-round, nearly 24 hours a day.
Utah Highway Patrol trooper Jeff Davis, campus security officer Mike Ravare, and Andy Campbell, deputy director of public safety at SLCC, answered questions and explained some of the issues that South City Campus has had in the past.
For example, security officials recently worked with McDonald’s corporate to have the bushes taken out of the space that lies between South City Campus’s main building and the drive-thru of the McDonald’s along State Street and Kensington Avenue.
While cameras are always in operation at the South City Campus, Davis said that because it’s an open campus and doors don’t close to students until 10 p.m., the SLCC community should know what to do if they see suspicious activity.
According to SLCC’s emergency preparedness webpage, public safety officials “encourage prompt and accurate reporting of crimes and suspicious activity to law enforcement.” The webpage links to all procedures for every possible emergency as well as emergency numbers to call for help.
For immediate help, SLCC security officials urge community members to first dial 911.
SLCC’s Public Safety Department has an X account that sends out alerts and updates, while emergency alerts are automatically sent to BruinMail, Outlook and SLCC work numbers. Emergency alerts are also accessible via MySLCC.
Four more walkabouts, which include the rescheduling of the Taylorsville Redwood Campus, are still forthcoming. All will run from 8–9 p.m., like the walks thus far. Dates are as follows:
- West Valley Center – Tuesday, Oct. 3
- Miller Campus – Thursday, Oct. 5
- Westpointe Center – Tuesday, Oct. 10
- Taylorsville Redwood Campus – Thursday, Oct. 12
Officials hope the campus safety and accessibility walkabouts will become an annual event, taking place at the beginning of each fall semester.