by Joe Adgie
Is VSU safe?
The SGA asked that question during Monday night’s meeting while discussing ways that campus safety could be improved. This was in response to the stabbing incident that took place late Thursday night.
The stabbing was not the first violent incident to occur at VSU this month. Exactly one week before, on Oct. 3, an armed robbery was reported on campus where an individual was forced to withdraw money from his bank account at gunpoint.
These incidents and more have the SGA – and students as a whole – wondering about the safety of their campus.
“Students have been saying that they don’t feel safe on campus,” Senator Edgar James said. He got this information from students at the Happening back in August. “I talked to two or three parents who picked their children up, and even though (the students are) adults, they still feel that they are their babies, and they’re considering taking their child from VSU.”
James remarked that the statistics paint a different picture from what has happened over the last two weeks.
“I’ve looked at the statistics, and crime at VSU is a lot lower than any other university in the state of Georgia,” James said.
Despite these remarks from James, a look at the Daily Beast’s College Safety rankings tell otherwise. The most recent rankings, published in 2010, placed VSU as the 324th most dangerous college campus in the nation – and the ninth most dangerous in Georgia.
“One of the concerns that parents had is that they need more parents patrolling,” James said, which set off some debate about the cost of patrolling and the effectiveness of existing patrolling.
“Students were mostly concerned with once we try to get more officers, will it cost more money for students, will it be a financial concern, because you’re hiring more people with the university,” Senator Candicee Childs said. “There were also concerns because this is happening at, what, nine or 10 o’clock. That’s pretty early in the evening, so a lot of people were wondering where were the officers, or where they were on campus at time. Where was the security at?”
One senator discussed how more officers could help with escorts. Tori Baldwin was in the Odum Library during the lockdown. She discussed her options to get back to her residence at Langdale Hall, which involved going through the pedestrian mall, or “the other way, which is a little shadier, less lighting.”
“I asked if there was any police escort because I was by myself, and they said that all police were tied up with figuring out the scene that they couldn’t escort anyone anywhere,” Baldwin said, “even to the parking lots.”
These ideas and more will be discussed by SGA executives and President William McKinney’s cabinet in a meeting on Thursday.