Malicious blue light activations decrease

The 2012-13 academic year saw 37 activations

Campus Security is alerted after a blue light is activated on campus.
Campus Security is alerted after a blue light is activated on campus.

Malicious blue light activations have reduced since last year, according to Campus Security.

More campaigns raising awareness about the danger caused by activating a blue light in a non-emergency situation could have contributed to the reduction, said Apollonia Karetos, AMS judicial affairs director.

“This year there was a campaign spearheaded by the Municipal Affairs Commission, perhaps those numbers can be attributed to the efforts I would say that students are trying to make in decreasing these numbers,” Karetos, ArtSci ’14, said.

The blue lights exist on campus to aid students who are facing an emergency situation on campus.

Pressing a button on a blue light will alert Campus Security, which is mandated to respond to every call.

In the 2012-13 school years, there were 37 reported incidents of “mischief” activations of the blue lights.

One-hundred fifty-three cases were of “no cause” and 63 were “accidental”.

This year, there were 28 incidents of “mischief”, 118 cases of “no cause” and 70 were accidental.

“Mischief” activation indicates that Campus Security was able to determine that someone had activated the light maliciously. “No cause” indicates that Campus Security could not determine why the blue light was pushed.

“It’s pretty much a learning experience, and maybe students don’t realize how dangerous how directly this affects their peer community by doing these malicious blue light activations,” Karetos said.

The most widespread install of the blue lights was in 1992 after a safety audit on campus, which increased emergency services on campus.

Concern arose last year after malicious blue light activations had gone up since 2008. There had been incidents of students using the blue lights in order to attain a “Blue Light” or “True Blue” bar for their faculty jackets.

Students earn the bar after shot-gunning a beer at every blue light on campus.

Malicious activations occur when students press the blue light button in a non-emergency.

Principal Woolf wrote on his blog in December 2012 “the Blue Light bar is, frankly, a badge of shame.” Campus Security notifies Kristen Olver, the commissioner of internal affairs, when there has been a malicious activation, as the activation is a violation of the AMS Student Code of Conduct.

The AMS places sanctions on students who are guilty of a malicious activation. Olver, ArtSci ’15, said she could not share specific incidents, as they are confidential.

She said it’s possible campus culture has shifted, leading to the decrease in activations.

“To give context, two years ago there were over 300 complaints [from Campus Security],” she said.

This year, posters discouraging mischievous blue light activity have been placed in each campus building, Olver added

The posters say slogans such as “Blue Light ‘pranks’ put your friends at risk.”

“This is a positive step over the 2012-2013 term,” said David Patterson, director of Campus Security.

“Awareness is key; we view the AMS’s campaign to bring this issue to the attention of fellow students as a positive initiative in reducing malicious activations,” Patterson told the Journal via email.

He said there still remains work to be done on the issue.

“146 unaccounted activations are still high and we will continue to work towards bringing that number down,” he said.


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