During an Student Government Association meeting on Nov. 29, a resolution was passed to do research on a new personal emergency alert device called the V.ALRT. to prevent crime
According to the VSN mobile website, V.ALRT is a wearable help button that can be discreetly worn on the wrist, carried in a bag or purse or worn as a pendent around the neck. When pressed, the V.ALRT will send a personalized message and one’s location to three pre-selected contacts.
“Khadija and I have been working on this project for a while now,” said Megha Gupta, the SGA senator for the college of nursing. “I was fortunate enough to be part of the university standing safety committee. I proposed the V.ALRT to them and the members suggested that they want to know if students of ETSU are interested in such device.”
The details of the legislation include extensive research.
“We wrote the legislation asking the university standing safety committee, public safety, ITS and SGA safety committee to conduct more research on a device that would be beneficial to students and their safety concern,” she said.
In a 2016 study at nine schools across the nation, 21 percent of undergraduate women reported to have been sexually assaulted while in college, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The whole idea of the device is to help reduce incidences of sexual assault on campus and to also ensure that people feel safe at all times,” said Khadija Aregbe, SGA senator for the College of Clinical & Rehabilitative Health Sciences. “The device would send a notification directly to public safety and the individual’s people of choice about the incidence that is currently taking place sending something like, ‘help, I’m in danger.’ It’s just to decrease moral panic on campus.”
Aregbe has had experience with devices like the V.LART.
“I had a device like it back in my previous school which was in the UK and it was a great way to keep safe,” she said. “I thought it’ll be a good device to bring to here and Megha researched into a device like that here and we agreed on one and worked together on logistics.”
Not every student at ETSU is on board with ETSU exploring this device.
“I think it’s ridiculous that ETSU is putting money and time into researching this device,” said ETSU criminal justice major Hoyt Cowell. “I am all for preventing crime, but there are already ways to reduce crime that have been researched and proven to work by many law enforcement agencies, so this will be a new experience and a waste of time and money. This wearable device appears to only be a reactionary device, which won’t prevent crime, only treat the aftermath, and most everyone already has a similar device. It’s called a cellphone.”
The amount of money that this device would cost the university is still unknown.