When I was in college, the campus safety system consisted of a series of emergency telephone poles with blue lights on top. The deal was that from any place on campus you were supposed to be able to see at least one emergency blue light phone, and in the event of an emergency, all you needed to do was knock one such phone off the hook and campus police would arrive quickly. It appears that some universities are getting a more modern update on this idea, as Montclair State University apparently requires students to buy a special GPS-enabled mobile phone
that can be used to report emergencies to campus officials. The phones come with special software, including a special timer system. A student can set the timer before walking home, and if he or she does not turn off the timer by the time it is up, the police will be alerted to the location of the phone. It's an interesting feature -- but is it really worth requiring all students to buy one? Apparently very few students actually use the system at all. It's certainly for a good cause, but it sounds like it's a bit of overkill that is resulting in very little usage. There's nothing wrong with offering such a deal to students who want it -- which will make it naturally appealing to those who are safety conscious and, thus, more likely to use it. However, forcing everyone to buy in seems unnecessary.