By PRINCESS WILLIAMS
Claflin University is taking steps to improve safety and security, but a top university official says students have responsibilities too.
In a news conference on Nov. 14 with multimedia students, Vice President for Student Development and Services Dr. Leroy Durant said new measures include improvement to the gravel parking area on Goff Avenue, installation of security cameras, resolution of the issue of parking along Goff Avenue and establishment of an escort service.
“We put everything possible in place to prevent any sort of emergency on campus,” Durant said, reminding students the campus is a city within a city. “All of us have a role to play,” he said.
Students should accept “ownership of the campus. You are the eyes and ears. You’re going to see it and hear it.”
During Christmas break, the gravel parking lot for students will be fenced and improved, Durant said.
The security cameras to be installed in parking areas and around campus will be similar to cameras used in cities and elsewhere to relay video to police and security agencies, he said.
“It’s not about seeing what students are doing,” Durant said. “We have concern about safety.”
Parking along the street on Goff Avenue is an ongoing concern. Durant cited danger in parking along Goff as the reason that Claflin sought permission from the S.C. Department of Transportation to eliminate parking along the street through the campus to Clark Street.
Goff Avenue in that vicinity is inside the campus boundaries, Durant said. The parking spaces on the street do not require campus parking permits, thus these are “unknown vehicles” to campus security.
Although parking along the street has returned based on action by Orangeburg City Council, Claflin is hoping to resolve the safety issue, Durant said.
To make walking safer, Durant is working on organizing an escort service for females. It would be operated by fraternities, with members being able to be reached by phone to provide escorts from parking areas.
On other issues, Durant said:
*There will be no increase in tuition fees in the upcoming year of 2014-15. Claflin tuition is currently the third lowest among private institutions in South Carolina, he said.
*Claflin is seeking international students, specifically from Brazil and China.
*The university is proud to have opened a new health center.
*The remodeling of the all-male High Rise dorm is almost complete.
* All food concerns should be directed to the food committee. “Cafeteria food has always been a number one issue” for college students everywhere. The committee is there to listen to complaints and make recommendations.
*12 more “smart classrooms” are being assembled. Summer school offerings will be online, with more and more Claflin courses going digital.