Skyline needs blue lights


Graham Breitbarth

A courtesy phone on the first floor of building 8 at Skyline Community College in San Bruno, CA.

Skyline security systems need to be improved. The ability to call for help during emergencies is vital for students on campus. The cultivation of a productive learning environment, where students feel safe on campus is a critical pillar of quality educational institutions.
It is difficult to focus on school if you’re scared for your safety or uncomfortable on campus. For this reason, most college campuses have security call boxes of some sort. The most prominent of these systems are the blue light emergency phones. These phone boxes usually take the form of blue poles with lights, and can be used to call for help in emergencies.
Skyline college has opted to not use this system. Instead, the school has placed several call boxes around campus. These call boxes allow people to directly call campus security in the event of an emergency on campus. There are 36 call boxes around campus, located near the entrance inside several buildings.
This is a good system, and would no doubt be very useful in an emergency situation. However, there are a few issues that need to be addressed. First, their location. All of the call boxes are located inside a building, meaning that help cannot be called from the outside. The implication is that if a building is locked, say early in the morning or late at night, an individual in distress will be unable to call to use the system to promptly call for help.
If an altercation on campus can occur anywhere, students should be able to call for help from anywhere. Being able to access a call box outside would go a long way to make Skyline’s campus safer.
Another issue is visibility. The blue light system, as the name suggests, is painted blue. This makes it stand out and easy to see. The call boxes are painted in bland colors. In an emergency you can easily miss them as they are now.
The call boxes should be made more visible so that it is near impossible to miss them. Students should be able to clearly and quickly identify the system during an emergency. When in crisis, people will panic and subsequently their processing is slowed. This is why higher visibility of call boxes should be made a priority. This would be a cheap and easy fix. A large sign or a new paint job can easily solve this issue.
Thinking about worst case scenarios can be scary, but it’s important that we as a community are prepared for the worst. The hope is that no one will have to use the call box during their time at Skyline College; however, if it does come up, emergency systems need to be as effective and efficient as possible.