Fort Sanders isn't all bad, but there are areas that could use some improvement.
Various apartments and housing complexes are the homes for many students, but it is not technically an area of campus. The area is patrolled jointly by the Knoxville Police Department, with assistance from the UTPD.
The Fort brings a different mix to the campus area - student housing, businesses, transit folks, non-students.
If KPD is backed up on calls, short-staffed, or has a situation where its staff cannot respond to a call in a timely manner, the UTPD is called to respond.
But because the area lies off campus, there are no blue light phones in the Fort Sanders neighborhood. Blue light phones serve as a direct line to the 911 system for students that have emergency situations on campus.
Some members of the Fort Sanders community said they would like to see UT consider placing blue light phones in the area.
Apparently, that's not a new concept. Marc Labdell, the property owner of Grand Forest Townhouses, lives in Champaign Ill., and owns apartment complexes on college campuses across the country.
He noted the success non-campus emergency phones have had at other universities, citing his property near the campus of the University of Illinois, located in Champaign, as a prime example.
Non-campus emergency phones, if they have been helpful at other universities, surely would be a boon to UT. There's no doubt that Fort Sanders is considered part of the university, whether it's technically part of campus or not. And students should have the same security there that they have only a few blocks down the street.
There could be potential problems with securing such access as blue light phones in the Fort - and there would have to be the approval of the 911 center to make a direct connection, for one.
It's true that there would be a number of steps needed to make the Fort Sanders blue light phones happen, but the idea is not a novel one.
It would be worth it.