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CU Boulder students complain of ongoing cell service issues amid safety discussions

Call failed on iPhone
Posted at 9:33 PM, Oct 21, 2022

BOULDER, Colo. — As leaders at the University of Colorado Boulder increase security measures around campus, including an announcement that both university police and Boulder police will increase patrols, students are looking at their daily routines to assess their own potential risks.

Denver7 heard from students concerned over a lack of cell service and stable internet connection at the Visual Arts Complex (VAC), saying they worry about their ability to communicate quickly in the event of an emergency.

Gabrielle Gonzales, a senior at CU, said she and her classmates spend many long nights working in the VAC and have consistently experienced issues with their cell phones. Often, she said, they are unable to even make or receive calls or text messages.

“You walk through the doors, take a couple of steps in, and then you lose all service,” Gonzales said. “And then also, when you step out, it does take a bit to get that connection back. And there have been times where I’ve been probably a mile away from school, and I’ve had to restart my phone because I still didn’t have connection.”

Following reports of sexual assault on and near campus, the university formed a Sexual Assault Task Force and held a town hall asking students to share their concerns and suggestions for improving their sense of safety. Gonzales said addressing this connectivity issue would be a big step in the right direction for her classmates and teachers.

“We always pull, like I mentioned, late nights here,” she said. “So it does get really difficult, especially when you know you’re pretty much the only one on the floor in the building. And so, [it’s] kind of not knowing who else is there, what’s going on, who has access.”

Denver7 went into the building with Gonzales to see the connectivity issues she was describing. Several attempted calls failed, both over cell service and Wi-Fi. Gonzales said that is the norm, and she has even labeled the building “Dead zone” in the “Find My” app on her iPhone, so that close friends and family members know to not expect answers to calls or texts when she’s there.

We asked CU Boulder about these concerns. A spokesperson for the university said that the VAC requires key card access after hours, and that there are landline phones in each classroom and lab on campus. Police records do not show reports of calls of service to the VAC in recent years.

Regarding Wi-Fi access, the university has spent more than $2.75 million and plans to spend $1 million per year over the next three years to upgrade internet access across campus.

“CU Boulder takes the safety and security of our campus very seriously,” said spokesperson Andrew Sorensen. “We invest significant resources toward maintaining and improving campus safety infrastructure every year.”

Gonzales hopes improvements come to her studios and classrooms sooner rather than later.

“In this day and age, especially with how accessible internet connection is, I feel like this really shouldn’t be a problem that a big university like CU should be having,” she said.