Thursday, January 09, 2014

Roadgeekery meets feminism: Installing Street Name signs in dormitory areas could eradicate campus rape culture

AIKEN — If you have been on ROBERT M. BELL PKWY or UNIVERSITY PKWY lately, you may have noticed custom-made street name signs just for South Carolina-Aiken.

"I was a student here after leaving the Marine Corp and it was interesting--after I came as a student I realized I wanted to be a police officer," said Kevin Liles, who became an Aiken County Sheriff's officer upon graduation from South Carolina-Aiken.

Now, Liles is back at the place he was once a student.  This time, as the Chief of Campus Police.

"When I came back I sort of had a different perspective about the college campus," explained Chief Liles. "As a student who had been here, of course I knew all of the buildings. But, from an emergency responders angle unless they were familiar campus they wouldn't know where to respond to."

So with the help of students, several university departments and the Aiken County Department of Public Works -- street names were added on campus.

"Now, each road is marked. There's addresses for each building on campus and for each dorm," said Chief Liles.

Now, if a student makes an emergency call from anywhere on campus first responders can pinpoint their exact location.

"It just improves response time," said Chief Liles. "So you're talking about cutting down minutes and time so it's just a safety improvement."

It is not just a safety improvement, Chief Liles.  These street name signs and marked highways on campus could go a long way towards ending campus rape and collegiate rape culture, which has had many high profile cases just within the last year -- from Vanderbilt to Occidental.

Think of it as roadgeekery meets feminism.

Prior to these changes, South Carolina-Aiken had just one address -- 471 UNIVERSITY PWKY, where I and many others went to (although I left after a semester).

"Luckily, we haven't had any necessary response from anyone since this process has happened in terms of maybe EMS or the fire department yet," said Chief Liles.  "But that's what it's about in emergency services is that you do it just in case."

And, as a former student--he says he and so many others could be part of the upgrades.

"I think it's always continuing so there's always means of improvement so there are other things that we can do, but it does to see the system work together to accomplish something that's necessary," said Liles.

The service applies to any call made on campus, whether it's a land line or cell line making it safer for anyone who might ever be on campus.

Chief Liles said that the changes took about a full calendar year to make.

WRDW News 12

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