Sussex students have expressed outrage at the number of broken lights on the university’s campus.
In a walk around the university and at a sit-in protest by Falmer House, the Students’ Union and members of the Safer Sussex campaign expressed anger that parts of campus are completely dark at night due to malfunctioning lamp posts, posing a serious risk to student safety, especially those on campus.
However, during a walk around campus on Monday, Security and Sussex Estates and Facilities (SEF) reassured staff and Union representatives that broken lights would be fixed by the beginning of this week.
After the walk, Grainne Gahan, the Students’ Union Welfare Officer, said: “I was quite shocked by the amount of lights that weren’t working and that quite a lot of them were a surprise to the SEF team.
“What is needed is for it to be easier and more accessible for students to be able to contact SEF and they should be more public and say they are there to report stuff to.”
Ms Gahan also announced plans to create a list of recommended areas for additional lights to be introduced for the university.
The Badger found 36 broken lamp posts across campus, with almost a third of them a short walk away from York House, where Security is based.
In addition, we found countless smaller lights, including a set of zebra crossing lights near a childcare centre, that were also broken.
Brighthelm, Park Village and Lewes Court were among the most poorly lit areas of campus.
Nicole Lachance, part of the Safer Sussex campaign, said: “[The number of broken lights] concerns me, especially if we think about the fact that students are living here, so I think that needs to be proactively looked at, and it does concern me that it takes us to prompt that”.
They added: “There is effort into making it better but I really do think that prioritising it is a huge part of that, especially if we are considering student safety”.
Safer Sussex aims to reduce the number of cases of sexual assault at the University of Sussex.
Other students have also shared their experiences of poor lighting causing them distress.
Postgraduate Journalism student Natasha Purkis said: “As a lot of my classes finish around 5pm, it’s often so dark that I ring my mum as I leave the building and walk to the car park, which isn’t amazingly lit”.
As well as this, Lulah Strathearn Brady, a second year English and Film student, said: “In my first year I lived in Northfield and I had to walk alone in the dark a lot. I used to get quite scared, and I got followed home by a couple of people at one point.
“I would have felt a lot safer if there had been lights around.”
SEF told The Badger: “In addition to the ongoing programming of fault detection and repair, we have a schedule of works to fix the 68 lights that are currently out before the end of the calendar year. Following the annual lighting survey completed on Monday 14 November (with assistance from the Students’ Union, Student Services division and a member of the Safer Sussex Campaign), we have also identified a further 10 areas where we would like to upgrade the lighting and are currently going through a process to secure funding for these.”
Picture Credit: Daniel Green