First Years Explain What They Need to Feel Safe on Campus
For college students, the issue of campus safety is one that has sparked a conversation. With journalism focusing on which campuses aren’t safe and why, and reports showing the number of incidents and crimes committed on a college campus it is hard to separate college and safety. The concept of campus safety is something that always needs to be addressed, but looks different to everyone.
Freshmen on college campuses can have a lot of anxiety in regards to this issue, causing them to avoid social gatherings, or not walk to the campus cafe because it’s dark. Actions that were previously considered paranoid are now very normal for an average college student.
It is easy to complain about the issue or to be confused by the lack of change despite rising crime rates. It is easy to blame all staff and administration for not appealing to your needs. What isn’t easy is taking a step back and fully defining campus safety, and realizing that it is not the same for everyone.
It can be hard to help change policies or enact consequences for wrongdoing when the answer to the issue is so complex and hard to define. The definition of campus safety changes depending on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, and so much more. With such a diverse population the only way to tackle this issue is by listening to the voices of the students themselves.
“College safety to me is being in a space knowing that, though incidents may occur, they will be handled well after the fact,” said a Southwestern University freshman, “Knowing how things have been handled by the admin on campus in the past definitely violates that definition.”
Knowing that your campus has acted in response to incidents is a trend around campus. After having visited the panel about sexual assault prevention and safe sex hosted by PIKE and the SU Health and Counseling center it was clear to see that some students even want to know exactly what happened to an offending student as a consequence for their actions. Noticing this concern, the panel did remind students of the legalities involved in handling incidents and investigations. With that in mind, how else do the first-years of Southwestern University perceive campus safety?
“Campus safety looks like a well-lit campus and locked doors past a certain hour,” said Southwestern University freshman Minako Pressley.
With locks on the doors of all on-campus rooms that are available for student use and 24-hour locks on the doors of the residence halls, it’s clear that this concern was widespread, and that this need has been met.
Behind all of these suggestions, critiques, and concerns there is still one critical question – why is this so important? Why should we really be concerned?
“Everyone is basically living with each other on campus,” said the previously quoted Southwestern University Freshman, “If I can’t trust the people I’m living with, that directly affects me.”