Safety on Our Future Campuses

Mindy Braga, Opinion and Lifestyle Editor, Social Media Manager

Every day across America, college students are off to campus, attending classes, clubs, or just going to their dorm rooms. Students should not have to fear that while on campus, their dreams or lives may be cut short. Students should feel safe on campus.

On October 30th, 2017 the University Of Utah went into a lockdown because of an active shooter. After the lockdown was released it was announced that a student named ChenWei Guo, a 23-year-old international student at the University of Utah, was shot and killed in a campus carjacking. As students grieved, they hoped that the worst was over. Less than a year later, on October 22nd, 2018 the campus once again went into a lockdown protocol from another active shooter. Once the lockdown was released, the University of Utah security announced that yet another student, Lauren McCluskey, was shot, and killed while traveling home from a class. The next day, the 31st, classes were cancelled as students, faculty, and her coaches took time to grieve.

On November 2nd, 2018 the President of the University of Utah, Dr. Ruth Watkins gave a message to the campus regarding the tragedy that took place. She started by giving her deepest sympathies to the family of Lauren McCluskey’s family, then went onto reassuring students and faculty that, “We’re committed to learning, taking actions that enhance safety and security and, in every possible way, preventing something like this from happening again on our campus.”

Although her message was sincere and somewhat reassuring to students, are students truly safe on the campus? According to Security Magazine, “Shootings on college campuses over the last five years have more than doubled since a similar period a decade earlier.” With these facts, along with shootings happening in their state, students can feel unsafe on campus, and it could scare future students from applying for college. Spencer Barfuss, a freshman at Southern Utah University said, “It makes me concerned about how people are treating students. It makes me upset about the education system especially.” On the second shooting at the University of Utah, he said, “This just proves that the correct steps have not been taken to prevent this from happening again. I feel safe enough at Southern Utah University, but overall I feel there is a lack of safety on college campuses due to campus sizes and schools not doing enough to encourage students’ self-care and not learning how to cope with mental health issues.”

Alyssa Herbet, a Freshman at Snow College and an alumni student from Copper Hills, says, “It concerns me [the recent shooting on the University of Utah campus] as it would most people, but it does not stop me from gaining my education.” Haillie Wilkison, a 22-year-old who goes to Provo college is also concerned, but believes there are several ways to prevent this from happening. She said, “I think there should be more security on big campuses. Things like more blue emergency phones, or necklace/bracelets with emergency buttons anyone can push at any time to contact the police and alert them of their location should be more accessible on campus.” These small impacts make students like Hailie feel much safer. “Schools should feel safe,” Wilkison says.

Our current and future campuses should feel safe.  Students should be able to go to classes and work to get an education and accomplish things that they want to pursue in life.  Schools should be the last place for a student to worry about their safety.

There are some students around the country that do not agree with the fact that there should be more safety on campus, Kaitlin Bennett who is a recently graduated student from Kent University, started a campaign on Twitter, #Campuscarrynow. She currently has over 140,000 followers. On the 7th of December she tweeted, “How else will students ensure they pass classes if they can’t threaten that they carry?” Kaitlin strongly believes that campuses will be more than safe if every student is allowed to carry, rather than adding more security or trying to come up with new solutions.

Shootings are becoming more and more common in our society, and they shouldn’t. Change needs to happen to protect children, teenagers, students, and everyone else. There are many different opinions on campus safety, at the end of the day guns and shootings are not a place for college. College is for learning and growing your future, not fearing your life.