A Well-Timed Campus Safety Editorial
October 7, 2008
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I know it’s pretty lame and predictable for me to write an article about campus safety right after a shooting happened next to campus. Ironically, I was planning on writing this a week ago, so now its timing is even better than it would have been without the shooting.
While Zack’s editorial covers the shooting situation pretty well, there’s more to the story that many administrators fail to realize.
Residents have never been safe on this campus and they probably never will be because there has been a consistent lack of attention paid towards their safety in all four years that I’ve lived here.
This semester, extra attention has been directed toward commuters’ safety (due to commuters complaining about their safety). Lights were upgraded behind Winchester, a walking path was outlined in the same area, a security camera was installed on the back corner of Winchester, and a guard stands between Winchester and Sheffield for hours. All of these steps were taken to make the commuters feel better about parking behind Winchester when they have night classes. Funny, there was a parking lot there before all these precautions were put into place.
Residents parked behind Winchester last year without good lighting, without a path to walk in, without a security camera, and without a guard. I know that every time I turned the corner behind Winchester that had maintenance trucks parked there, I anticipated someone waiting there, in the dark, for an unsuspecting student to walk by. Fortunately, that day never came to fruition. So we lucked out. That doesn’t mean we were safe.
What kills me, is you would think that the school would take more precautions to make residents safer if they were going through the same precautions making commuters safer.
The new resident lot is further away than the old one is. Yet I was never told that a security camera was being put in. Lighting is mediocre and even non-existent where the street curves up from the Winchester parking lot. There is also no call box (even though there is a shiny new one in the commuter lot). That fence? What a barrier! It’s never closed when it’s supposed to be and even when it’s closed, there are still plenty of ways to get onto campus. I have a pretty good feeling that the only reason that fence is there is so the residents on Isadore St. aren’t bothered at night. I wonder if our safety was even in consideration.
In truth, that fence just causes more problems. It is so unsafe walking or driving from the back of Winchester to Pruden St. and vice versa. That mirror that is supposed to show you if a car is turning the corner from the opposite way–it’s been broken all semester. There’s also barely enough room for two lanes of traffic.
And what about resident students with night classes? I’ve had plenty of classes that required me to walk from Kaplan to Winchester at 10:00 p.m. alone. With no guard looking out for me. An even worse route is from Harugari, which requires students to walk down an uncontrollable, residential street with terrible lighting. Alone. So while shuttle services to Forest Hills have been increased, the rest of us are left out to dry.
There’s a big difference between putting in an effect and blatantly disregarding the well-being of a particular group of people. Catering to a particular group of people (a group that pays less money to go here and doesn’t actually live here, by the way) is more than just rude, it’s disrespectful. We have a right to feel safe too. I doubt commuters go home and fear walking to their cars as they sit in their driveways. I sure fear walking to mine. But does it matter?
Students shouldn’t have to complain in order to make people care about our safety. But, the commuters had their turn, now we deserve ours.