New safety measures a start, but more can be done

The issue of safety on the Geneseo campus is one that is fairly easy to gloss over. While likely few would profess to be completely unaware of the reality that crime and physical attacks do occur, the inviting, small-town atmosphere provided by this environment makes it relatively simple for students to push far from their minds the idea that they could be potentially be the victims of a crime, violent or otherwise.

We at The Lamron do not accuse the administration of being misleading about the crime incidents that do occur here, and applaud the recent steps taken to improve the security situation, notably the implementation of the NY-Alert emergency message system and live shooter drills conducted by University Police. The fact of the matter is, however, that criminal incidents and violent attacks do occur - the Oct. 1 stabbing and Sept. 8 beating of a student at the hands of two non-students are prime examples. The administration does not emphasize these incidents any more than they have to, for the obvious reason of not wanting to discourage potential students. While we maintain that while the aforementioned measures are steps in the right direction, there is more than can be done to ensure a better system for facilitating the student population's awareness of major incidents, violent and otherwise, that do occur.

In the instance of the Oct. 1 stabbing, campus-wide e-mails were sent from Vice President for Student and Campus Life Dr. Robert Bonfiglio. While this means of keeping the community abreast of the situation was effective, the lack of any such message regarding the Sept. 8 incident, which involved two men with a previous criminal history, was disturbing. The incident did occur off-campus (Orchard Street) and largely involved village police with the assistance of UP, but its close proximity to campus and the involvement of a student warranted notification of the community. The fact that Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian admitted that he's uncertain of any standards for informing the college about such off-campus violent incidents is reflective of the need for a better system, accompanied by a wider set of standards for notification.

Such a system would require the cooperation of UP, the village police and the administration. The NY-Alert system, which is designed to inform about ongoing situations, would not be effective for such a purpose, and the administration should look into other means, be it an automated e-mail system or otherwise, to ensure the appropriate message about major incidents are relayed. While UP does dutifully maintain an incident log on its Web site, it is underutilized because many students are unaware of its existence.

One must consider this approach, however, with the mentality that as adults, students cannot be completely absolved from maintaining a significant level of responsibility for ensuring their own knowledge of safety issues and the appropriate measures to take to protect themselves. A system to facilitate students' awareness can only go so far, and there are, of course, the unfortunate few that may choose to lock themselves in a bubble, disregarding attempts by the administration and other students (eh-hem, The Lamron) to inform them of potential dangers.