Students tremble as darkness falls on Centennial

After a dark Halloween and Mischief Night, lights once again shine on the steamy pathway between the skeleton of the new library and 50-year-old Centennial Hall.

Many Centennial residents expressed discomfort at walking along the path Halloween weekend, when it was dark due to a disconnected wire at the construction site, according to Joe Sullivan, facilities director.

“(My roommate and I) complained that something might jump at us,” Min Yu, junior nursing major, said. “No one’s really passing around here. When I walk it’s only me and it’s pretty scary.”

Yu added that she was worried after reading about the sexual assaults on campus. “You never know. That might happen to you,” she said.

According to Sullivan, the string of lamps that usually light the pathway were out after a wire became disconnected inside the library construction site.

“The contractor was in charge of that,” Sullivan said.

The lights were out on three nights – Oct. 30 thru Nov. 1.

“I’m always afraid someone’s going to come out of the construction,” Shannon Shell, junior early childhood education major, said.

“I wasn’t comfortable because it was really dark,” David Nash, junior finance major said, “There have been stories of people being raped and mugged. It’s in the back of everyone’s mind. And we are around Trenton, which isn’t the safest area.”

However, Nash did not file a complaint about the problem. “Someone will fix it – that’s what I figured,” he said.

Facilities sent an electrician to fix the lighting on Nov. 2 after a cell phone call from Melissa LoShiavo, junior nursing major.

“It was unsafe out there,” LoShiavo said. “The sidewalk is already unsafe enough. Thank God they turned them on, because with the rain outside there was a lot of flooding.”

LoSchiavo said in addition to walking hazards, dangerous people were a cause for worry because the College is an open campus.

After her call, Campus Police said it would repair the lights and send night security, she said.

LoShiavo said she saw police officers walking around later that night.

“If we have officers available we try to post them in those areas to keep an eye on things,” Ray Nesci, Campus Police professional services specialist, said.

Campus Police officers said they did not see any broken lights in the area Thursday night during their weekly survey of every light on campus for Facilities.

The lights were out on Friday or Saturday after the weekly survey had been completed, Nesci said.

“On this campus, within the next three days, sight lighting somewhere is going to be broken,” Sullivan said. “It’s one of the cons of construction.”

Supported with pieces of wood, the temporary sight lights, like Centennial Hall itself, will remain indeterminately.

“We’re not going to install permanent poles and lights if Centennial is coming down,” Sullivan said. If Centennial is demolished, he said, the type of lighting around it will be replaced.

This is the first time this year the lights in that area have broken.

“Those lights are nice to have there; you definitely notice when they’re missing.” Christie Heyer, senior chemistry major said. Heyer said she was not afraid because she was always walking with someone.

“I’d feel safer if there was an emergency call box outside Centennial,” LoSchiavo said. “Since freshman year my parents have been complaining.”

Sullivan said he took a night walking tour of campus last year to identify areas that would be security concerns. He hopes to do the same this year, he said.

“You want to have a well-lit campus that’s safe, but not garishly lit where there’s light everywhere.” Sullivan said. “It’s part of the sense of security, because we have a 24-hours operation here. We tend to look at it as an urban environment where people can be out at any time.”

Students should travel in groups in unlit areas or request a police escort, Nesci said. “We have a relatively safe campus, but there’s always opportunity for people to do things.”

“If there are students who feel places are too dark, they can send a request to my office, Campus Security or Res Life, and we can usually find time to address that and add additional lighting,” Sullivan said.