After the tragic events at Virginia Tech this past April, colleges and universities across the nation have vowed to evaluate and improve campus security for the safety of their students, faculty and staff. In his message to the Geneseo community following the Virginia Tech massacre, President Dahl made the following statement: "When tragic events like this happen, members of the senior administration analyze the information to determine what we can learn to enhance our own policies and responsiveness."
This response, similar to that of many college administrators across the nation, is one that was delivered with great sincerity. The enhancement of policies and responsiveness Dahl spoke of is something that takes time, money, planning and development. Granted, these "enhancements" cannot take place overnight.
I've never felt "unsafe" on campus. I have encountered nothing but friendly, decent people, and have never been in a situation or environment that made me uncomfortable. The paths around campus are generally well lit. The ID scan entry systems are a great security measure, and the University Police can be seen driving around the outskirts of the campus. And there are always those blue emergency towers.
But, there does seem to be some room for improvement in all of the above. First, the ID swipe cards are great - for the doors that are locked. But what about the doors that aren't? For the first two or so weeks of school, there was an unlocked door in Livingston that allowed anyone access, with or without a card, and without or without good intentions. The sense of security gained from the use of ID scan entry was lost with the knowledge that anyone willing to do a little exploring could find their way into the building without a key. On a positive note, this lapse in security was fixed as soon as the scan entry system was up and running. In the next few weeks, the ID scan entry system will also require students to type in the last four numbers of their G number when entering at night. This way, only students who live in that residence hall will be able to get in.
The UP diligently patrol, like I said, the outskirts of campus. But I've never seen officers on foot patrol walking throughout the campus at night. Not only would their presence deter whatever crime may occur on campus, it would add an extra level of comfort to students walking from A to B at night.
The blue emergency towers are another issue. Sure, they exist, but you might have to search around for one - not very convenient if you're being harassed or chased. Standing in front of my building, there is just one tower in my line of vision. And, unfortunately, it won't do anyone much good all taped up and blocked off in the construction area.
One of the most important things about security on a college campus is its ability to adapt and change with different situations. I'm confident that security on campus will continue to do just that, creating a safe and secure area for students to live, learn, and socialize.