For years, a number of appealing qualities have attracted prospective students to EC. For starters, we have a beautiful campus nestled within a bustling community rich with great restaurants and decent bars. Our neighbors consist of dog-friendly locals and yoga moms that frequent the quad for their daily dose of exercise. Generally speaking, Elmhurst exudes an atmosphere in which students feel safe.
Lately, the surge of burglaries and carjackings that have taken place lead us to feel otherwise.
With the frequency of school shootings in our nation at its peak, schools like Elmhurst College should recognize that its campus is just as likely as any other to find itself in the wake of a serious threat and that it is perhaps time to reevaluate its seemingly lax attitude on safety.
Laptops lay unattended on library tables, backpacks lay strewn across Founders Lounge, and doors are left ajar in dormitory halls.
And for many that level of comfort is understandable. After all many students come from areas with far higher crime rates than than this small affluent suburb, but security must always be valued no matter where you are.
Anyone that has walked through the doors of the fitness center can attest to the fact that pretty much anyone can walk into most campus facilities without being questioned, even if they do not have permission to be there.
While other college campuses are no different, students should not need a slew of recent burglaries, carjackings, and other perceived threats to kick them into a state of heightened security. It should be on every student at a personal level to look out for their own security as well as the security of their fellow EC community members.
Without a doubt, many tragedies have been prevented with the substantial increase in faculty and staff lockdown training in high schools throughout the U.S.
In order to tackle these holes in security, we believe that the school should provide resources for students that educate on self defense, safer protocols in the event of an armed shooter on campus, and safety etiquette that all students should adhere to.
Sure these are demonstrated in online crash courses, a few RA meetings, and the occasional class hosted by a student club but we believe that these resources should be offered during accessible times and places such as protected hour at Founders Lounge.
What’s equally important is that we students should actively participate in these classes so that we can reach this sort of collectively safety conscious environment.
EC is a fairly open access system and while we shouldn’t be coddled and install metal detectors on campus, perhaps it is also just as pertinent that the school be more aware of who enters our buildings.
In addition to this, it should also be easier for students to report emergencies directly to campus security, especially when danger is immediate. Currently, the blue emergency pillars are very sparse and spread out far across campus.
If more of these pillars were installed in more densely populated areas of campus, it could do wonders for the perceived safety of many students on campus, especially in a year when the first month of the year alone has already yielded 11 school shootings in the US.
Ultimately, the responsibility of security is a joint venture between both the students and faculty as well as campus security. No one can watch your back at all times, but we should still be able to depend on each other to feel protected as a community.