Press "Enter" to skip to content

SGA goes forward with plan to extend skyway access 

MOORHEAD– Students who live in East Complex have been struggling with getting overnight skyway access for years. In March, the Student Government Association (SGA) approved funding for a new fob reader in Olson Forum that will help increase security and make it possible for 24/7 skyway access for students. 

Off-campus representative for SGA, junior Sara Kampsen, has been working on issues all year including improving street lighting around campus for students who live in surrounding neighborhoods. When looking at campus issues, she realized that lack of skyway access was a safety concern, especially for those living in East Complex. 

Sophomore class representative Jayden Olmsted assisted with the solution. 

Sophomore Hallett resident assistant (RA) Megan Gunnerson frequently needs to cross 8th Street late at night after campus activities. To avoid walking alone at night, Gunnerson has walked across campus during the day to grab her car and make the five-minute drive to and from main campus for evening extracurriculars.  

Issues with crossing the street include exposure to cold conditions and not being seen by cars at night. But running into “scary people” while walking alone at night, especially for students identifying as women, is possibly the biggest concern, Gunnerson said. 

Gunnerson was once approached by a man she was “more than certain was on some substance” while in her car, and stated she would not have felt safe had she been outside alone.  

“This person could have been out anywhere on campus because it is an open campus… someone could be alone at night with this person hypothetically, not have access to the skyway, and something dangerous could happen and there’s nothing that could be done about that,” Gunnerson said. 

Conversations with other students revealed feelings that public safety doesn’t feel like a viable option for help Gunnerson said. Public safety has been slow to respond or unhelpful in some cases.  

“Being a woman walking alone is so terrifying because no one is going to be there if I need them right away,” Gunnerson said.  

Residence life staff who live in East Complex are aware of safety concerns, and keep an eye out for potentially dangerous situations, especially at night, and especially on the weekends. Gunnerson made sure at the start of the year that all her residents had her phone number in case they needed immediate help. 

“We’re extra aware and extra ready to handle situations like that, which is also scary on our part. We should not have to deal with this, that’s technically public safety’s job, but we end up dealing with it,” Gunnerson said. 

Kampsen and Olmsted took the data from a survey they conducted to public safety to find a solution but were turned away. Public safety director Bill MacDonald claimed that the 8th Street entry to the skyway already had 24/7 fob access for students, and that they were having issues with non-students trying to sneak onto the workout balcony and causing problems Kampsen said.  

Another issue with skyway access is the gate that locks people out of Olson Forum and Memorial every night, and public safety directed Kampsen and Olmsted to athletics to resolve the issue. The two got in contact with athletics director Rachel Bergeson. 

“We brought this idea to her… and she was like ‘yeah I love it, let’s do it, and if it doesn’t work then we’ll try again.’ She was great, she really lifted our spirits up,” Kampsen said. 

Part of the solution to grant skyway access included adding plexiglass around the door to the workout balcony so people can no longer climb around the door over the dangerously long drop over the track. Next steps are figuring out a system for keeping the gates open and adding a fob reader between the 8th Street skyway doors and the Olson Forum doors on the east side of the building.  

SGA granted funds for the fob reader, and both Kampsen and Olmsted are in contact with advisor Nathalie Rinehardt and facilities management director Dallas Fossum. Getting the fob reader will be a process, and while an exact timeline is unknown, plans will start this summer.  

“We just want to make sure our students are safe,” Olmsted said. 



Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.