SIU survey sheds light on safety concerns of students

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Students at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale are wanting to shed some light on part of their campus.

The information comes from the results of a campus-wide survey in which many students said they feel unsafe.

Many said once the sun goes down, Thompson Woods gets a little creepy.

The university recently conducted a survey in which many students say the more light in the area, the better.

The survey covered a wide range of topics, but students seemed to be the most outspoken about safety.

According to the results, about 60 percent feel unsafe at night walking in the Thompson Woods area.

"Most people hear all kinds of horror stories about what happens in Thompson, like, so as soon as the night falls and the sun goes down people are like – 'oh, it's not worth the risk going through there," SIU sophomore Samuel Dirnbeck said.

Brad Dillard, Director of Plant and Service Operations for the university, said he understands why students feel this way.

"Walking through the woods, walking through some of the perimeters of campus is not really something that anybody necessarily needs to be doing," Dillard said. "There's plenty of other safe ways to make your way from point a to point b around campus."

He points to the Brightway Path, an app for campus escorts and help boxes available to students.

"To make it feel safer? Probably, maybe, to add lights," said SIU freshman Alicia Jarrett.

80 percent of students surveyed said lighting should be added along all main pathways.

"The problem with putting lights out here is that it could kind of mess up this kind of nature preserve thing we've got going on here," Dirnbeck said.

With school and state funding also an issue, Dillard said it's best to find a lighter path.

"Students should just not go in the woods at night until we can get the resources to provide lighting," Dillard said.

Dillard said it's definitely the university is currently looking into, and hopes someday more lights will be added in the area.

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