Man exposes himself, safety issues return
By Paolo Zinatelli and Chris Webden
Students are asked to remain aware of campus safety issues, especially in light of a recent incident involving a man exposing himself on Western grounds.
Wendy McGowan, spokesperson for the University Police Department, said the incident was witnessed in the woods behind Saugeen-Maitland Hall residence. The occurrence follows a string of similar sightings which took place last year.
"It was an issue [last year], but there's always people around," said Pina Sorbara, a fourth-year administrative and commercial studies student.
Sorbara said this year, two sophs actually walked her home one evening. "It's good that people are looking out for you," she added.
According to Nicole Nelson, VP-campus issues for the University Students' Council, an increase of $5,000 has been provided to upgrade the lighting throughout the main campus and each of the three affiliate colleges, bringing this year's total lighting budget to $20,000.
She noted the increase was allocated by the President's Committee for Safety of Women on Campus, an administrative organization at Western which receives their $50,000 annual budget directly from the provincial government.
Notepads have been distributed to all residence rooms across campus and coasters have been left in all campus bars that warn students to be aware of their surroundings and to not leave drinks unattended, Nelson explained.
Nelson also said the implementation of a campus safety audit or review, which has been planned for a while, is set to begin this month.
Erin McCloskey, coordinator of the Women's Issues Network, agreed that the various improvements are a step in the right direction.
Money is being invested by the province, and WIN will be working with the provincial government to develop community based programming.
"We're glad to see [safety] is a priority, but the problem has gone on for so long that any investment is [now] minimal," McCloskey added.
McGowan cited Foot Patrol, the blue-lighted poles and the direct links to the UPD through on campus pay phones as examples of some of the available services.