Having an open campus is a characteristic of most public universities in America. Open campuses give students many freedoms, which many of us appreciate. However, when it comes to security, an open campus is a liability. The idea of closing campus is one that should be considered when discussing making our campus a safer place.
Being a public university, especially one that is so closely connected with the surrounding community, it would be near impossible to close off the campus with gates.
A campus map reveals there are 10 entrances to the campus, but gating all of them off isn’t exactly necessary to increase security. It also isn’t necessary to gate them off 24 hours a day but rather only during nighttime.
Placing them just inside the roundabout on College Drive and Luther Avenue denies access to the stadium side of campus.
Adding one at the new roundabout and one right in front of the dining hall restricts University Avenue from people using it as a cut through without denying access to dormitories on the west side of campus.
Lastly, one on Pell Avenue behind the nursing building would create security in accessing campus from the South side.
Albeit this is a rough plan which hasn’t been tried or true, adding gates around campus at night would make many students feel safer.
According to an aggregate report from the U.S. Department of Education, public universities average roughly 5,000 more on-campus crimes per year than private universities.
There is little to no data proving that gating public universities leads to a drop in on-campus crime, mostly because the overwhelming majority of public universities have never considered the idea of limiting access to their campuses.
So, there is no proof that closing campus will make it safer for students, but if you ask me, it is worth a shot. Why wouldn’t you want to take a step toward feeling more secure at the place you live and go to school?
There are many factors to consider, including the idea that this initiative would diminish the non-essential traffic, and even drunk drivers, who use campus as a cut-through.
Every week, there are posts on social media about people walking or running on campus that are hit or almost hit by a careless driver. By reducing driving on campus at night, it would be safer for pedestrians.
Keeping non-residents away from the university at night would lead to increased security of dormitories, a reduction in car break-ins, and an overall better sense of security for all students. It does restrict the open freedoms of people on campus, but there should be a dialogue opened up about how to ensure safety in an ever-dangerous society.