As students of this university, we have a number of duties to our education and school work, to our extra-curricular activities and jobs, to our friends and social life, and most importantly, to our overall health and well being. However, as the word “duty” suggests, if we do not properly prepare ourselves in each of these respective facets of our lives, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
This past Sunday, Oct. 14, I walked around campus near Kennedy Union to interview students for this issue’s “Word on the street.” The question, as you can see to the left, was about students feeling safe on campus. I interviewed a typical amount of students, expecting to hear complaints and fears in response to the prompt. In the conversations I had with students, I felt dejected to hear the majority respond otherwise.
In the past two months or so that we have been in school, an alarming amount of criminal activity has taken place on our campus.
A male student was robbed at gunpoint. Another male was attacked and robbed by a group of guys. A female student was harassed and shoved to the ground. Another male student was harassed by three guys with a knife in an attempted robbery. Two more female students were involved in an attempted robbery at gunpoint, and that same night, a male student was robbed by a guy claiming to have a knife.
These incidents have taken place all over campus. From the far corners of Jasper and Rubicon Streets, to Woodland Avenue and Alberta Street, to the school’s front door of College Park and Brown Street, to the busiest block of Kiefaber Street, arguably the heart of the Ghetto.
As students, you have all received the informative emails about these crimes. I do not bring up these incidents again for the sake of renewing panic and terror in students’ minds. However, I hope I am not alone in reacting with distress to any student who chooses to respond to these events with naiveness.
I remember my first two years at this school, during which the criminal activity levels were seemingly low and I felt quite safe on this campus. But throughout the course of my junior year and the beginning months of this year, the situation has changed.
I no longer feel safe walking from one end of campus to the other past a certain hour of the night, regardless of it being a week day or weekend. Is that disappointing? Yes. But does that mean I act the same way I did during my freshman and sophomore years, in regards to preparation and safety? Heck no.
If we take comfort in the assumption that these events will eventually fade away and stop happening, we’re being foolish. We must adapt to the environment around us in order to stay safe. Our reactions should not be used as an opportunity to take advantage of Public Safety, blaming them for shortcomings in stopping this violent activity.
If anything, we should put trust in them, doing our best to help them locate areas that are prone to crime and alerting them quickly to any and all criminal activity so they can better serve and protect us.
We should be working together to avoid further victimization of students. Never walking alone, always having a cell phone handy, allowing friends to spend the night after a certain hour, increasing communication between housemates to notify them of our whereabouts and staying informed by reading safety advisory emails are all things we should have already started doing as these unfortunate events have unfolded this year.
I don’t want to think of UD as an unsafe place, because the truth is, I’ve been fortunate enough to not have any unpleasant encounters on this campus. But it’s too easy to take this lightly; and unless we are actively working together to bring an end to this disorderly state our campus is in, UD might truly become unsafe.