Millsaps’ Security Talks Pedestrian Safety

by Ally Rincon

contributing writer

For the past 17 years Director of Campus Security John Conway has been working hard to make sure Millsaps College is a safe place for students and faculty. As director for the past nine years, he has worked to keep students safe and campus secure from outside forces. But what precautions are taken to decrease student and automotive incidents on campus?

“The main thing is the posted speed limit of 15 MPH signs that are everywhere on campus,” Conway said. “We are what we call a “pedestrian campus. Campus is basically connected parking lots on the North and the South side. We try our best to slow down students when we see them speeding. I think most students are aware of the pedestrian traffic on campus, and I see a bunch of students walking on faculty road all the time, which actually slows down traffic, but is still pretty is risky safety-wise. Primarily, we try to enforce the 15 MPH speed limit.”

Conway also explained how having a 15 miles-per-hour speed limit should help limit the amount of incidents on campus.

“…We obviously don’t have radar guns, but I do ask my officers to use their best judgment,” Conway said. “Primarily, when it comes to issues of the speed limit or potential violations of the speed limit, we are much more likely to wave a student down and ask him or her to drive more slowly than to issue a ticket. We don’t often cite students for that. Now, there have been occasions when a student wouldn’t obey us when we flagged him or her down or we weren’t able to flag them down, in which case we write a ticket and leave it on the car—but those cases are rare. Aside from that, as with a lot of our traffic and parking regulations and rules, we just ask students to be good community members. Be thoughtful and considerate of each other and if we all do that, things will work pretty smoothly for the most part.”

Ways for students and faculty to protect themselves from pedestrian-automotive accidents are to use the sidewalks on campus and for drivers and pedestrians alike to be aware of their surroundings.

“As it relates to broader security issues, I need students’ help keeping them safe,” Conway said. “I need them to make wise decisions and help me protect their equipment and materials—for example [of what not to do], leaving phones on benches and tables, and leaving laptops and backpacks unattended in common areas, and leaving their dorm rooms unlocked. When they [are aware of] those types of things and practice basic safety measures, it creates a low number of incidents. We can’t be everywhere at once, and I wish I had 25 officers per shift, but that’s unrealistic. I need my community’s help to help keep each other safe… For the most part I get great compliance from the students. We do have a great community that works together and is cooperative and does keep safety in mind.”