Picture yourself sitting in class on a regular school day. As you’re sitting there picking at your fingernails, checking your phone, or actually taking notes, it probably never occurs to you that at any moment the entire campus could be shut down due to a threat from the outside world.
We all think it would never happen on our campus. I mean first of all, take a look at our Life Safety Security Guards. Those guys are everywhere! I literally cannot walk from Lottie to Gorecki without seeing one of their vehicles drive by.
Whether students find that annoying or not is beside the point. The point is they are present and visible to the student body 24/7.
Whether or not students realize the effectiveness of their presence or appreciate it is differenet. It all boils down to this: the presence of security on campus, whether we find it annoying or not, whether we realize it or not, makes the student body feel safer while living on campus.
I understand not everyone feels like this.
I know many of us find the security policies on campus to be strict and they impose pointless rules. I mean I still don’t know where I can and cannot park on either of these two campuses without getting throttled with a stupid parking ticket. However, I bet if you were to ask the students at Jamestown University in the middle of North Dakota, they would have something quite different to say. They would beg to differ that the presence of security would have prevented the incident on Thursday, Nov. 7, when the university was issued a lockdown due to a missing student who was believed to be a threat to the student body.
Now imagine you are back in class chewing on your nails when all of a sudden you are told you are not to leave the building, or even the room, until further notice because there is a potential gunman on campus. I am willing to bet more than half of us would be at least a little thankful we have security guards crawling around who are hopefully getting the situation resolved.
In an interview with Josh Knutson, a sophomore at Jamestown, we talked about safety issues on campuses nation-wide and how it affects learning. When asked if the degree of safety on campus affects student learning Josh said, “To an extent. The more comfortable you are living at your university, the more time you can devote to your studies. If students are worried about their safety then they can’t devote their time to what they are really here for.”
Knutson also gave some insight to what safety opportunities his campus provides and what changes will be implemented after the incident on Thursday. He said, “We only have two security guards on campus. However, the security phone numbers are posted everywhere. The guards are not really visible until the evening when they are on duty. Security cameras are going to be installed around campus. There aren’t any now. There has been mention of getting full-time security guards. We are also switching from keys to ID scanners to get into the dorms.” Not only did this incident make Knutson and other students aware of the potential danger that can threaten a school at any time, it has negatively affected the outlook students have about their school.
Knutson said, “It definitely has given some doubt to our safety. We never think anything like that will happen but then it does happen. It’s just a wake up call that everything isn’t always as safe as we think it is. It doesn’t necessarily worry me, it was just kind of like, ‘Oh crap, that actually happened.’”
Students at CSB felt the same.In an interview with Katie Jost, a CSB sophomore, she expressed her concern and agreed that the presence of life safety provides an essence of safety around the campus.
She said, “Yes. [Becasue of the security] I can go anywhere on campus anytime I want and feel safe.” Katie also expressed her thoughts on how the aspect of a safe campus has led her to devote her time to her schoolwork. She said, “I don’t even think, ‘Am I safe or not?’ because I feel safe no matter what. It’s really not even an issue that I think about.”
Even though we all complain about Life Safety and how strict and pointless some of their rules are (Um, hello. I got a ticket for parking across from Gorecki to eat for 5 minutes), all in all they make a difference. Without them, our school could experience the same thing the University of Jamestown did.
How would we go back to our normal everyday lives after our entire campus has been shut down due to a threat to the student body? Wouldn’t everyone be on edge for a little while after that?
I know I’d much rather be sitting in class biting my nails than worrying about when the next gunman is going to walk onto my campus.