One of the many privileges of being a student at this University is the safety we feel every day on campus. From being able to leave a laptop unattended in the library for hours to feeling comfortable walking home alone late at night after attending a downtown party, it is reasonable to say that most students feel very protected here. As we go about our daily lives, we take for granted the fact that many other places, including other college campuses, are not as safe as ours. However, the safety that we assume is not always the reality.
Living in the University’s bubble, we believe that we are untouchable, as if the rules of the “real world” don’t apply to us. We must see through this façade and realize that we have to face issues from the real world every day. Students have possessions stolen from them. People are harassed on their walks home. Or, as in Theodore Doremus’ case, people even have loaded guns pointed at them.
As unsettling as these events might be, the common denominator in nearly all of these cases is that we played a part in putting ourselves in these situations. Perhaps that laptop shouldn’t have been left out in the open for someone to steal. Perhaps it wasn’t smart to walk home alone instead of waiting for a friend or getting a ride. Perhaps drinking those last couple of beers was a poor decision. There is almost always a set of decisions, or indecisions, that the victim makes before their safety is breached.
None of these examples are to say that students who have their safety violated are asking for it by putting themselves in poor situations. As students at the University, we all have the common sense to not consciously put ourselves in harm’s way. The reality is that it is simply too easy to become overly accustomed to the safe haven of the University. After going away for break, being back on campus for just a couple of hours has the strange power to change people back to their University way of thinking. While this transition we experience is something to cherish, it can lull us into a dangerous bliss.
The administration and Public Safety surely do everything that is in their power to keep us safe, but it is hard for them to do so if we are not looking out for our own safety first. For this reason, every student should make it a priority to look out for themselves and others on campus.
At the end of the day, college is meant to prepare us for the real world. The University certainly does that in many ways, but not in all. Students must take it upon themselves to prepare themselves for the dangers of the real world by practicing safe habits in their college years.