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New phones, blue phones

By Molly Boes
On February 1, 2012

As the year goes on, the number of blue lights mounted on assistance phones continues to grow across campus.

Currently there are 16 phones that are operating, seven

that were installed with the construction of Fenwick Place,

the Conaton Learning Commons and Smith Hall and

9 were installed as a part of Xavier's safety initiative.

This spring, 20 more blue assistance phones will be

strategically placed throughout campus. These blue

phones have been replacing the old yellow emergency

phones because they are more noticeable and updated.

Along with the blue light, the assistance phones have

other new features including a mass speaker system, which will be installed in 18 of the phones. The mass speaker system will enable the police to issue an announcement from the dispatch that will be announced throughout campus from these select phones. Steve Owen, director for environmental health and safety, said that while XU Alert Me is often used for campus-wide announcements,

using the assistance phones will enable them to make the announcement immediately, and can be used during tornado or severe thunderstorm warnings and other alerts.

Owen also stressed that these phones are not only for emergencies but, as their name suggests, they are also for assistance. "We are encouraging people to use them if they have a flat tire, are locked out of their car, are requesting an escort, and not just for crimes," Owen said.

In order to use the phones, there is a button on the box that individuals can press. Once the button is pressed, they are immediately connected with the police dispatcher and the blue light starts to flash. A screen in the dispatcher's office tells what phone was activated. The phones act not only as an immediate access to assistance, but because they are more noticeable, Owen said they may begin to act as a deterrent against crime. "Some people want to move away from phone systems because, supposedly, everyone has a cell phone," Owen said. "But what happens if you lose your phone? These updated phones advertise that we take safety very seriously."

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