OSA aims to save campus blue lights

Carter Uslabar, Editor in Chief

The Oshkosh Student Association (OSA) resolution seeks to preserve the blue light emergency system in place on the UWO campus, which is currently being phased out.

According to Patrick Caine, OSA chief of staff, who drafted the bill for OSA along with Ava Tryon, several of the blue lights were installed over two decades ago — meaning they’ve been around longer than much of the student body. As they’ve aged, they’ve become expensive to replace.

“The blue lights we have are obsolete,” University Police Capt. Christopher Tarmann told The Advance-Titan in 2019. “It would cost about $200,000 to replace every blue light on campus.”

In lieu of the blue lights, the UWO Mobile app offers a mobile blue light, as well as other functions such as “Chat with UP,” in which users can keep in constant contact with a dispatcher as they travel throughout campus.

In 2019, the UWO Mobile app cost roughly $4,500 to operate and maintain.

“The main reason why the specific units were being considered to be removed is that — especially the older units — it was not cost effective to keep them,” Caine said in OSA assembly on Tuesday. “Most of the oldest units used analog phones, and the digital adapters’ and other types of equipment costs weren’t reasonable.”

Despite the cost, some students want the blue lights to be replaced or updated. According to Caine, there is good reason for this.

“Obviously there are issues that arise with [the mobile app],” Caine said. “What if your phone goes dead? What if you don’t have a phone?”

According to Caine, this is a problem campuses throughout the state are struggling with. Blue light systems were installed on many campuses throughout the ‘90s, and thus they are all becoming obsolete or dysfunctional around the same time.

Caine says he will be pursuing a petition to get students on board to save the blue lights.

OSA resolution seeks to postpone classes on future election days

OSA resolution 02-021 seeks to have the day of each presidential election designated as an academic holiday.

The resolution states that postponing in-person classes on the day of presidential elections would illustrate the university’s commitment to the values associated with liberal education.

The resolution, written by OSA vice president pro-tempore Austin Hammond, says voting, being one of the most tangible and simple ways for students to participate in democracy, should be encouraged by the university.

The resolution seeks to have in-person classes on future election days postponed, as such time constraints may be a barrier for students making it to the polls.