Prevo announces plans to install blue light emergency call boxes on Liberty’s campus
The Vines Center erupted in applause Nov. 3 following an announcement from Liberty University President Dr. Jerry Prevo: “We are in the process of installing blue boxes.”
Prevo was referring to blue light emergency call boxes that allow students to press a button on the light and alert police to their location if they feel endangered.
As he made the announcement, a map of campus appeared on the screen behind him, showing where the 12 blue light emergency call boxes will be placed.
Additionally, Prevo announced the installation of nearly 1,000 cameras installed in two phases, a project he authorized for about $8.5 million.
“We’re serious about making Liberty University a safe place for all of you,” Prevo said.
Prevo talked about Liberty University’s Title IX amnesty policy, which is offered for anyone who reports an incident of sexual assault that occurred while the complainant was in violation of the Liberty Way honor code.
“You are not going to be disciplined for that if you come and you have a legitimate complaint that you have been sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, dating or domestic violence,” Prevo said. “You’re going to have what we call amnesty. We do not want you to be afraid to come forward thinking that you’re going to have to give an account of what you were doing when that happened.”
The installation of blue light emergency call boxes and the confirmation of the amnesty policy fulfill two of the requests made in a petition started by Justice for Janes, a student-led organization calling for reforms at Liberty.
“I’m glad that Jerry Prevo has come out and publicly made a commitment to concrete action,” said Daniel Harris, a senior studying business who founded Justice for Janes. “And now it is time for the next step. We have to strike now while the iron is hot and welcome this change and push for the right thing, the completion, which is knowing the truth.”
The petition has received over 1,000 signatures and, furthermore, calls for an independent audit of the Human Resources and Title IX offices.
“They talked mostly about the blue light call box, which is great. The cameras – great. But the investigation is really where things are at, so while Justice for Janes is grateful for the steps being taken, we understand that there is way more to be done. That investigation needs to happen,” Harris said.
Prevo addressed the Title IX office’s policies and told the audience of students that the university will investigate any previous mishandlings.
“I do not know what happened before I came, but I can tell you this – we’re not going to try to cover up anything,” Prevo said. “We’re going to look back, have that investigated and also if we’ve done wrong, we are going to correct that wrong the best we can.”
“I didn’t come here to cover up,” Prevo added. “I came here to clean up.”
This is a developing story. Jacqueline Hale is the Editor-in-Chief of the Liberty Champion. Follow her on Twitter @HaleJacquelineR