Safety a concern, not an epidemic

When Katie Autry’s limp body, with its severe burns and stab wounds, was pulled out of a Poland Hall dorm room last May, campus safety issues came to the forefront in a huge way.

Over the summer, while the campus continued getting its physical facelift and students mourned Autry’s death, President Gary Ransdell created a committee to examine how to make Western safer for the record number of students hitting campus this fall.

The Campus Safety Task Force released a document July 30 outlining a set of recommendations which will be considered and/or implemented this year. In fact, some already have been.

The committee didn’t reinvent the wheel, but they didn’t set up a prison for Western students to live in either. They drew the line pretty darn close to the middle. Good thing, because it’s easy when a tragedy like this happens to let your emotions speak for you and rush to solutions that don’t actually solve anything. That didn’t happen here.

This committee realized that aside from a few sporadic major incidents of crime at Western, this was and is a safe place to go to school. Some things needed improving and probably some still do. But now is not the time to flip out and bring in the armed guards and metal detectors.

More than ever, students need to realize that while safety on campus is partially Western’s responsibility, a huge part of it falls on them as well. Students, follow the rules in place and be mindful of the new stuff too. As tedious and bothersome as some of it can be, it is for your well-being.

Last semester’s unfortunate incidents taught us a lot. But as tragic as Katie’s death was, let’s follow this committee’s lead and do our best to make it the exception and not the rule.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.