Despite the mayor’s recommendations, student security in the Exchange sees no shift anytime soon.
By Katherine Ivey
Students at Red River College will not be able to relax anytime soon when it comes to panhandlers around the school.
Mayor Brian Bowman said he wants to crack down on aggressive panhandlers at a news conference in late March. However, Red River College and the rest of downtown may not see this any time soon.
Some students feel stressed out walking to school at the Exchange District Campus.
Emily Langley, a first-year Business Administration student, walks to school every day. Panhandlers have approached her on numerous occasions. Langley said that one time a man grabbed her hat when she said she had no change.
“I had no clue what to do so I just ran the rest of the way,” said Langley.
Langley said she almost always tries to walk with someone, but on the days where she’s alone, it’s very stressful. She also said she would like it if The Roblin Centre was a closed campus.
“I just want to study without having to worry,” said Langley.
The Roblin Centre’s Security Services supervisor, Rick Lange, said that student safety is their highest concern.
“We only lock the doors if there is a serious threat, it is still a public building,” said Lange.
Lange said that security follows up on every complaint they get. If students feel uncomfortable, they can use one of the 20 Safe Walk phones to contact security.
“There’s a lot of people who just like to hang out on campus, and that’s fine as long as they don’t bother students,” said Lange.
Another first-year Business Administration student, Wilson Truong, said that he has been approached while trying to enjoy a cigarette after a long day of classes.
“He asked if he could have my last one,” said Truong. “He stood beside me until I just gave it to him.”
Truong said he felt very uncomfortable and situations like this annoy him.
A familiar face to many students, Phillippe Lemoine, 28, likes to walk around the school every morning, though he’s not a student.
“I think everyone’s really nice here, and I just like to chill,” said Lemoine.
Lemoine said that security has warned him he could be banned for up to a week if he asks students for money or cigarettes.
“I’m not supposed to bother anyone,” said Lange.
Lange said that as it gets warmer outside, panhandlers will be out a lot more around the college and students are encouraged to use the Safe Walk service provided by security.