The entire Case Western Reserve University community received a security alert on May 10 informing us that a student had been robbed, possibly at gunpoint, in the Rockefeller Physics Building. I was utterly shocked that such an incident had occurred in an academic building. Typically I brush off most security alerts because they happen in areas I don’t frequent, but this one was on the Case Quad. Every student passes through the Quad.
Administration needs to start taking campus safety seriously. We as a school frequently put security on campus on the backburner. Our campus’s security office was moved from a very central and visible location in the North Residential Village to an office behind the American Heart Association, and if you didn’t see cars coming in and out of that parking lot, you would never know it was even there.
I personally felt safer when the security office was right next to a main Greenie stop than where it is now. What bothers me more isn’t that the office moved, but why it was moved. The security office was moved to make way for a new expansion of the alumni center.
How are we supposed to trust an administration that wouldn’t even make the effort to replace the burnout lightbulbs in the streetlights on campus? I took a lighting tour last year around campus to see all the different places where there were light bulbs burned out, and still none of those light bulbs have been replaced. The most basic security measure for a college campus isn’t even being taken seriously. Even the blue light phones CWRU is so proud of are few and far between. Some of them aren’t even functioning properly.
This isn’t an incident that can be swept under the rug. Administration needs to take occurrences like this and the robbery from the Film Society office in Strosacker Auditorium seriously and realize there is a real problem with security on campus. They first need to replace the light bulbs and fix the existing blue light phones. That is the minimum step CWRU administration can take. If they can’t even commit to doing that much, I don’t think I could consider this campus safe anymore.
If CWRU wants to be a desirable option for prospective students, the administration needs to invest more in security. No parent is going to let their child go to a school where they could potentially be mugged in a high traffic academic building.
I feel it is fair to say we all need to take responsibility for our safety to some degree, but I expect my university to bear some of that responsibility when I’m on campus, as well. If CWRU really does want to create a “safe space” for students, they need to start with physical safety.