UT replacing ‘antiquated’ emergency blue boxes with safety app, but not everyone wants to see them go

Change is coming to the University of Tampa, and not everyone is on board. The school is launching a new safety app called "Spartan SOS," which connects the user to campus security.

The app replaces what are known as the "blue boxes," emergency hotlines that call campus security. There are about 75 scattered around the campus. Most are in parking garages, where trouble is possibly more like to happen. Two are on poles outside.

"The technology has become obsolete," Cara Spoto, UT’s director of business services, told FOX 13. "The equipment is very antiquated. It is hard to find parts, and most of the units have been discontinued by the manufacturers."

That’s why the school is moving to the new app. However, the move is not going unnoticed. Within the first 48 hours, more than 500 people signed an online petition to keep the blue boxes.

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"My phone dies all the time," explained Elizabeth Lucarelli. "If I come home from going out to Ybor, usually my phone is like, 10 or five percent."

Spoto says the university is upgrading its technology, and the new system will not support the blue boxes. The blue boxes are also twice as expensive to maintain as the service fee on the app.

The blue boxes are scheduled to be gone by April.