Town Hall Recap - Campus Safety
On Wednesday night, USGA hosted a town hall meeting to discuss students’ safety concerns that have arisen following the recent incidents in the 16th Street parking deck and the University House apartment complex.
UAB President Dr. Ray Watts and Chief of Police Anthony Purcell, as well as other administration and police personnel, debriefed students on their plans to increase campus safety and answered questions from the audience. USGA President Anjali Wagle mediated the event.
Dr. Watts and Chief Purcell emphasized the importance of campus safety and ensured students that there are plans in place to sustain the increased police presence on campus that followed last Monday’s incidents. In the past week, UAB police has patrolled parking lots and decks more frequently and on a more routine basis.
In addition, the escort program hours have been extended to seven days a week and now operate from 9 pm to 5:30 am. Before the extension, the service ran from midnight to 5:30 am. Additionally, the Blazer Express buses will operate from 5:30 am to midnight. Between 5:30 and 9 pm, UAB police safety escorts are available for students who call 934-4434.
Dr. Watts and Chief Purcell also noted that a Campus Safety and Security Task Force is in the works.
Below are some questions that were asked by students and the answers given by Dr. Watts and Chief Purcell:
Q: What is the response time for the help boxes around campus?
A: Less than two minutes
Q: Are there plans to increase security around finals week when students are out studying late at night?
A: UAB has increased security around finals for the past three years and will continue to do so.
Q: What can students carry on campus to protect themselves?
A: Students can have pepper spray, but UAB policy prohibits firearms, tasers, and anything else other than a small pocketknife on campus.
USGA Weekly Spotlight - Nirja Gajjar and Weslie Shannon
USGA’s Emergency Student Loan Program Coordinator and Vice President of Finance are teaming up to making lasting impressions on UAB’s new student center while helping students in financial need.
As the ESLP coordinator, Nirja Gajjar meets with students who are struggling with financials and informs them of the options that UAB has for them. Weslie Shannon, who is the Vice President of Finance and the Finance Division Leader, supervises all of USGA’s financial transactions and works closely with Gajjar.
The Andrew M. Sands Memorial Emergency Student Loan Program, sponsored by USGA, helps students in need receive financial assistance for college expenses such as tuition, housing, textbooks utilizes, title payments, medical expenses, and so forth. Full-time students taking at least 12 semester hours are eligible to receive up to $500 in interest-free loans.
Through the Pave the Way Campaign, donors can buy a $100 paver, which they can have engraved with special text, for the new student center’s common area set to open next fall. The proceeds will go towards the ESLP fund.
“Now that I’m the Vice President of Finance, I wanted to make sure that we continued to work on this project for students so we can continue to offer the emergency student loans for many years to come. USGA and UAB Administrators have been working towards this project for the last few months, and we’re so happy to have such a great response from students and alumni. I’m really excited to see how the campaign takes off in the next few weeks, and so thankful for all of the contributors who have made donations already! “ Shannon said.
“I truly hope that a lot of students, alums, and their families will realize how great of an impact this will have on students in need, and will want to give back to their school,” Gajjar said.