WVU's blue lights, and why they may not get fixed

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — You may have seen the emergency telephones or “blue lights” scattered across the WVU campus, but it’s important to note that over half of these phones are out of order.

The issue was initially reported by WVU’s independent student newspaper The Daily Athenaeum. The article featured comments from a student and their parent when they noticed during a tour that many of the phones were inoperable.

Executive Director of Communications at WVU April Kaull said a combination of low usage rates and old technology may mean the blue light emergency system is phased out in favor of WVU’s LiveSafe app.

“Some of the supply chain issues have made it more difficult to get replacement parts. The discontinuation of the 3G network which many of these units operate on has been discontinued. So as those things have happened, we’ve had some of those units on campus that are not operational for a variety of reasons.”

According to Kaull, another safety alternative, the WVU LiveSafe app, has been downloaded over 14,000 times. The app is used to send reports of danger as well as receive alerts in the event of an emergency situation.

Kaull also said that less than 10 calls have been made using the blue light system since 2019. However, factors like fewer students on campus due to the pandemic, and many of the phones not being operational, could have contributed to the low usage rates.

Right now the WVU and the student government are working together to get the opinions of students on if they still want the emergency phones across campus, or want to switch to only using the LiveSafe app since many students have smartphones.

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