University of South Alabama students asking for changes to campus security

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Students at the University of South Alabama are asking for changes to safety protocols on campus.

These calls come after a young woman was taken from a west Mobile club and found hours later on South’s campus.

 “We need more precautions being made and more preventions,” said Vignelle Puliatti, a senior at USA.

Puliatti said she is hoping for a change to safety on campus.

“I’ve also been followed around on campus several times and had to call my brother in Auburn and just like, hey, I need someone to be on the phone with me right now,” said Puliatti.

She started a petition to bring a blue light system to campus. A blue light system is made up of several stations built across campus with a direct line to campus police. She says it’s needed especially as the school continues to grow.

“Everything that’s happened has kind of put everything in perspective with how much we need more security on campus,” said Puliatti.

“Blue light towers do have a place, but it’s really old technology, so what South Alabama has decided to do is develop our newer technology,” said Zeke Aull, the Chief of University of South Alabama’s campus police.

A study done by the Department of Justice during the 2011-2012 school year says 92% of all campuses nationwide had blue light phone systems. Aull said many schools are now getting rid of the blue lights, moving to something more modern.

USA uses the Live Safe app. Aull said it has many more functions that the app can do as a safety app.

“Everyone has a telephone, everyone has a smartphone, and it goes with them. Unlike the Blue Light call boxes, they’re stationary, and so we chose to go with the technology that’s newer and much better,” said Aull.

Aull says they also have more than 1,200 security cameras on campus, a license plate system, and have spent more than $250,000 a year the past five years on improving lighting, adding more lighting and cameras.

Aull said they work hard to keep campus safe.

“This is just like my family, I would do whatever it takes, whatever I do for my family, I do it for myself,” he said.  

Aull explained he’s willing to talk with Puliatti about her concerns.

“I’m willing to work with any of their ideas and I hope they’re willing to work with any of our ideas as well,” said Puliatti.

Neither the University of Mobile nor Spring Hill College has blue lights installed on campus. The University of West Florida does have a blue light system, and they have been installed for more than 10 years.

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