Wildcat Path: Convenient or Chancy?


A.J. Fezza / Villanovan Photography

Wildcat Path connects South Campus to The Commons and Main Campus.

Grace Janofsky, Staff Writer

The picturesque tree-lined path of Wildcat Path is a staple landmark for freshman students living on South Campus. The path conveniently connects the church on Main Campus to the residence halls of South Campus. Although there are two main ways to get to Main Campus from South Campus, Wildcat Path is more peaceful than the chaos of waiting for the walk sign on Lancaster Ave. Even when it is gray or cold, a nice quick stroll in nature to get to class feels great. However, when nighttime rolls around and the path is absorbed in darkness, the calming sense quickly drifts away. Shadows grow longer and familiar faces turn into strangers. 

There is no question about the vulnerability of freshmen students, especially for those who identify as female. Sexual assault and harassment are huge problems on college campuses, so much so that the first few months of every year are deemed the “red zone.” The red zone is the period of time from the beginning of fall semester until Thanksgiving break, when sexual assaults on college campuses spike. It creates a vulnerable environment for students and especially for freshmen. They can be unfamiliar with their surroundings and could possibly not be as confident in their ability to navigate campus, especially at night.

Wildcat Path has inadequate lighting, as students cannot see more than 25 feet ahead of them to identify who is walking towards them or sitting on a bench. Although mainly all people passing by are fellow Villanova students, one of the key factors for staying safe is being aware of your surroundings. The lighting on Wildcat Path does not make that possible. Furthermore, there are only two emergency call boxes along the path, one on each end. Although the path is not very long, it would be helpful to install one more in the middle so students would not have to worry about finding public safety’s phone number or reaching a call box in an emergency situation. 

Not only is the lighting an issue, but the path’s proximity to the Villanova Station-Norristown High Speed Line also allows for anyone, including non-students, to walk onto the path with ease. 

There is no way to prevent people from wandering on to the path and running into Villanova students. Public Safety does patrol the area, especially in the late hours of the night. Rather, they focus their patrols around the dorm buildings. They often camp out in the parking lots or make short rounds in the area. Although this is an important location for Public Safety to observe, Wildcat Path is also very important. In the past, I can recall a Public Safety car stationed at the bottom of the stairs from the bridge only once. However, greater consistency is needed. 

Although there have been no, or very limited, reports of any sort of emergency on Wildcat Path, the factors mentioned above do not aid in preventing future emergencies. Improved lighting, more call boxes and increased public safety patrol in the Villanova Station- Norristown High Speed Line area would aid in preventative measures. It is imperative that we do not wait for something to happen before we make improvements for the safety of Villanova students.