Open campus has potential dangers to it

Nina BartlomiejczykCopy Editor

While Southern is generally a safe campus, according to this year’s Clery Report, there are determinants to having an open campus.

Colleges, at least public ones, should have an across-the- board liability to protect students in terms of safety precautions regarding who is on campus at any given moment, but what that might look like for Southern is hard to define.

Not all colleges are the same in terms of having an open or closed campus. Southern in particular allows anyone on campus with little restriction, as a public institution, but the restrictions about entering and exiting dorm buildings are very strict in terms of visitors, compared to other institutions. This could be annoying if a guest exits the dorm and comes back multiple times in one day, but it ultimately works to the students’ safety benefit.

Safety is especially a concern in a time where school shootings are on the forefront of public consciousness. The only real, beneficial intervention to prevent school shootings from happening is intervention with the people showing signs of doing so and stricter gun control policies. Unfortunately, the country is still grappling with this issue, but, while they do so, it may be time to enforce stricter rules about who is allowed on college campuses and when, or to at least start thinking about it.

In terms of events relating to this issue on Southern’s campus, religious protestors come every year to preach about their evangelical sect of Christianity. Southern is unaffiliated with their organization and any specific religion, and the student body sees this presence as more of a nuisance than anything else. Yet, every year they are allowed to return to badger students.

While they have never posed a threat to anyone’s physical safety, why would a social justice campus allow people with ideas that are nowhere near intersectional – to put it lightly – to preach at us? They are allowed to demonstrate on our campus, however, some of their opinions border on intolerant hate speech, which would not be acceptable from a student or faculty member, and thus should not be acceptable from a guest.

On the other hand, banning this group would have to mean an overall policy change, and just what that policy change would look like is cloudy at best. How is it possible to screen the multitude of students at the university for outliers who do not belong? Further, what process would be used to make sure visitors sign in?

Public high schools have security measures of this sort, but high schools are singular enclosed buildings – Southern is composed of at least 30 separate buildings. That means there would be no definitive place for visitors to sign in and be cleared to be on campus.

However, higher campus security is not necessarily the end all, be all. For example, Yale University has a much higher crime rate than Southern, according to WTNH, yet they have higher security restrictions on entering their campus – students need to swipe in with ID’s on a gate to enter Yale campus. This would not even be possible for Southern either way, because Yale is cocooned within downtown New Haven, whereas Southern’s buildings are situated much more expansively and freeform.

While it might be beneficial for a higher level of security to be put in place, there is not a clear path towards it.

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