Stickin' it to the man since 1927.
Another look at campus safety
by Gwen Walsh
Before the last issue of The Scarlet, which came out on March 1st, my editor Ashley and I were facing a serious journalistic dilemma. Students had just heard the unsettling news of the sexual assault in our neighborhood, and we knew that we had to cover it in some way, but we couldn’t decide how. We didn’t want to just reiterate the Timely Warning email so when we got a news tip that the victim may have called Escort before the attack, it was clear that we should raise this issue to the Clark community.
Regardless of whether or not Escort had anything to do with this assault, it has certainly played a role in safety concerns in Main South for years. Let me start by saying I do not put blame on anyone, particularly the hardworking students who drive us around in circles on bumpy roads late into the night – I just have questions about (and maybe a suggestion for) SES policies and management.
The following is an excerpt from an article I published in The Scarlet in 2009 about safety on campus:
“Safety is a serious and legitimate concern on campus, but fear of Main South should not confine us solely to our dorm rooms and escort vans. Clark makes it abundantly clear that danger could be looming around any corner of this neighborhood, but around which corners have most of these issues occurred? And which emergency call boxes are used most? And what happens on campus between Timely Warnings? The Clark police and administration have been working with students and the surrounding community for years to improve security, but both newcomers and veterans still express concern and harbor fear. What else can Clark University do to keep its students and employees safe?
“An easy first step is simply knowledge…Knowledge extends to such details as how late escort is open… It is imperative that all students know that while the office stays open until 4:00 a.m., students cannot access escort service after 3:45. This detail is very important so that students may plan accordingly; even the most responsible Clarkie could find him/herself walking home alone at 3:55 a.m. if they had been planning on taking escort.”
Three years later, the Escort website still states its hours as 4:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., but I would like to applaud Jack Foley for his thorough email sent to students on March 13th which clarifies this important detail. The Student Council also showed excellent initiative with Now What?, their forum on campus safety, as well as with the event, Take Back the Night.
So let’s keep asking the tough questions, like the ones I brought up in 2009, and not be afraid to address past mistakes. SES is one of Clark’s most valuable resources. Being straightforward about the fact they stop taking calls at 3:45 doesn’t detract from this.
Read the rest of Safety on Campus, 2009, at Scarlet.clarku.edu