Campuses’ lack of security puts students in danger

By Leah Frost / Staff Writer

By Leah Frost / Staff Writer

It’s the time of year when eager students are planning the next phase of their educational career.

 

Choosing location, deciding on a major, whether to go to a public or private school are all influencing factors students go through when sealing the fate of their future.

 

What is lacking from the monumental tradition of moving forward to new and exciting avenues as a student is the measurement of safety higher education may or may not offer.

 

Campus safety is not an issue that is addressed when admissions are attempting to lure in prospective students.

 

There are plenty of resources on how much a school will cost and what classes are offered, but when it comes to personal safety the issue is not even secondary, but rather not discussed.

 

In fact, attempting to access information on campus police or safety policies for a majority of the colleges and universities is not an easy feat.

 

The information on who to contact if there is an incident on campus or even what the procedures are for dealing with crimes on campus is not readily publicized.

 

College websites have to be searched through to find just the right link to reveal information on safety programs and procedures.

 

For example, in order to access the campus safety and police programs and services on the Riverside Community College District’s website, one has to go to the links for faculty or staff to find the schools program entitled “police and parking.”

 

The main links on the homepage for RCCD include student services, the library and even the Board of Trustees, but to find the resources needed concerning student safety you have to dig a little deeper into the website.

 

Then there is the question on how much security is really placed on campuses to make sure students are safe.

 

Throughout the day a police car associated with the school may drive by on occasion or a golf cart driven by security, but how often are patrols really taking place?

 

At this time RCCD employs 27 sworn personnel and 30 community service officers, according to their website.

 

This number is spanned over three campuses averaging 19 security related personnel per campus split up between 24 hour shifts to protect 35,610 students enrolled throughout the district, according to RCC’s Admissions and Records department.

 

This is not an uncommon occurrence. Most institutions for higher learning have limited safety personnel compared to the thousands of students attending classes each day.

 

The question remains with the limited security available for students, if there are incidents on campus how often do the violations are placed on record?

 

What is done to take care of any crimes committed?

 

Recently, five women were sexually assaulted at Sacramento State University.

 

Since the attacks, the response from the university is to merely beef up security by ensuring that the campus security increases visibility and patrols, according to KCRA news.

 

Studies show that one in five women will experience sexual assault or rape while in college.

 

Out of the thousands of cases of sexual assault throughout college campuses across the nation, very few are ever reported.

 

Minimal reports by victims of crimes committed against them is a reflection of the growing stigma of whether the crimes will be taken seriously or if the victim will be pushed aside.

 

There has been backlash from schools both at the university and high school level, which instead of reporting the crimes to outside authorities the institutions play advocate and deal with the violations in house.

 

By not involving outside authorities, proper justice for victims cannot be sought.

 

This is merely an attempt by educational institutes to remain out of the lime light of scandal.

 

In Muncie, Indiana, the police recently criticized Central High School for making their own judgment calls when a girl said she had been sexually assaulted.

 

The school figured since they thought the story didn’t add up in their eyes that the police should not be involved.

 

The police on staff at the school were also left in the dark about the situation.

 

Since when is the actuality of a crime left up to school administrators to decide? Instead of helping a victim, they placed the victim under scrutiny, giving the offender the chance to walk away from the situation without a scratch.

 

These stories of faculty involvement in covering up crimes and limiting police interference are ultimately the reason students cannot trust the system to protect victims’ rights.

 

Campus safety is not limited to patrols and parking violations.

 

Campus safety should extend to the well being of victims and the pursuit of truth and justice for the students who are violated.

 

How well does the education institution that may be a student’s future hold up to protecting their students to prevent safety violations and to remedy a situation that may have already occurred in the best interest of the victim?

 

This is the question that should be answered just as clearly as what a semester of tuition costs.

 

When the first day of class rolls around and the eager students get the syllabus in their hands explaining every detail of the course, there is a small section explaining what to do if a student has a disability.

 

Applause! The schools take into consideration that a student may need to know what to do if they have physical limitations.

 

Why not take it a step further and make sure a student knows how to protect themselves on campus with just a splash of information regarding campus safety?