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Gee tells students to ‘look up, be aware’ at campus safety event

President E. Gordon Gee kicked off a campus-safety event, aimed to bring awareness to students on Ohio State’s campus Friday.

The event coincided with three Friday accidents in the campus area.

For one hour, a group of faculty, staff, students, and law enforcement officers gathered at the crosswalk on 17th Avenue, by Derby Hall, handing out safety notes and granola bars to students walking by.

Gee said bringing awareness is a high priority for the university, but it can’t be done alone.

“Look up, be aware! Don’t just walk along and talk on your cellphone,” Gee said.

Gee said some recent campus changes might have contributed to campus safety concerns.

“I think it is because of the rhythm of change from quarters to semesters, and the fact that we are doing so much construction on campus,” Gee said. “Those are probably the two major issues.”

Ohio State Police Chief Paul Denton said the tragic events of the traffic crashes, and people being seriously injured the past weeks were the forefront to this initiative.

“This is definitely the best first step, is to trying to get the message out, so people are informed and educated about their rights and requirements, which are for drivers, pedestrians or bicycles,” Denton said.

OSU student Paige Schaffer, said the event brought education to students who underwent a wake-up call after the accidents of the past weeks.

“I think people just got so used to do what they really wanted, they didn’t think that anything would really happen, because people are just suppose to stop for them,” said Schaffer, a second-year in Neuroscience. “So once people started to get hit, they realized they might not be right all the time.”

The crosswalk on 17th Avenue is just one of 14 intersections on campus, where students were able to ask questions about traffic rules to some of the six to 10 volunteers at each location.

Denton had advice for students who want to be safer on campus.

“Know the rules of the roads and be very aware what those rules are and what their responsibilities are,” he said.

According to Gee, this event will be followed by other events, bringing an ongoing awareness toward campus safety. He said although he can’t change the way students walk on campus, texting and with their face down, he is hoping to make them aware that campus is a very busy place, where they have to be cautious of their environment.

Three accidents occurred on campus Friday. 

Friday morning before the event, a pedestrian involved motor vehicle accident occurred  on West Woodruff Avenue near the CBEC construction site.

Liz Cook, assistant director for media relations, said the pedestrian ran into the side of a bus, and no serious injuries were sustained. The scene was cleared by 10:30 a.m.

Around 1 p.m. Friday, a pedestrian was hit by a bicyclist on the south side of campus off Neil Avenue, close to Campbell Hall. The pedestrian was taken away from the scene in an ambulance. OSU Police Deputy Chief Richard Morman said she sustained minor injuries.

OSU Police Captain Dave Rose said an additional accident occurred around 3 p.m. on Friday when an OSU student who was riding his bike was struck by a car on 18th Avenue and College Road, in front of Stillman Hall.


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