Oct 7, 2014 12:32 AM by Jason Atcho
Downtown safety is an issue that many in Chico are concerned with. That's why members of the Chico State student body held a forum and invited community members and city officials to participate as well.
"As their representative on these safety issues that pertain directly to them, I wanted to hear their voices," said Cassandra Bednarski, Commissioner of Community Affairs at Chico State.
One of the most recent issues is the burning of couches. Chico State has gotten national attention after videos were shared through social media. "To future employers, that's kind of the definition that they're getting from Chico State. So students need to realize that by burning couches, they're setting a negative connotation to the Chico community and to Chico State and their diploma from here isn't going to be as valuable if we continue to have that," explained Bednarski.
Another topic was Title 19, which would give the city some control over alcohol use permits and be a liaison between the businesses and the state. "It simply gives the city of Chico control over those types of businesses that sell alcohol within our community," explained George Laver of the Chico Police Department.
Also, many students are still not familiar with the social host ordinance. Those at the forum are trying to get the word out there. "If we frame it in a way that 'Hey, you're a college student and you're going to be fined this amount of money. You should really care about it.' Framing it in that way, I think, will get more attention to it," said Bednarski.
Lighting and sexual assaults in parts of the city are also an issue and they're planning to have safety walks to identify problem areas. "If we write down 'okay here is where we don't feel safe because of the lack of lighting', we can present that to city council and different organizations like that so that way we can start the conversation and set the foundation," said Bendarski.
Officials say it's important to work alongside the students to make these changes. "Students are more likely to listen to their peers than they are to a government body, whether its law enforcement or the city in general," said Laver.
If you'd like to get involved or get more information, there's another meeting set for October 14th at 5PM at Chico State. It's open to everyone from the community. For more details you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.