Every August thousands of first year college students move into student housing and dormitories on the Sam Houston State campus. After a day of unloading boxes, making beds, and hanging decorations. Our new Bearkats hug their parents and say their goodbyes. Mothers and fathers then get into respective vehicles and drive off into the piney woods of East, Texas to return to their home towns. They wipe their tears as they leave their child in the rearview to pursue a higher education. As all loving parents do they worry about the safety of departing from their kid, who is now likely for the first time not under their supervision. However, beginning this Fall semester students are no longer under the protection of safety protocols implemented by a campus safety committee.
Within the first month of placing their children in the trusting hands of the Sam Houston administration and campus police department. Parents were informed off a dead body found on campus just walking distance from the Sam Houston Village dormitory and of a bomb threat on campus. Why are these heinous acts all the sudden affecting our small town college?
Over the Summer, the University dissolved the campus safety committee. Now well into the Fall semester following this decision, there has been a large influx of KatSafe announcements. Everyday, Sam Houston students are bombarded with alerts over email and automated phone calls, reporting sexual assaults, burglaries and most recently vehicle thefts occurring on our East, Texas campus. If this is in direct correlation to the campus safety committee, it is tough to say.
Although, these developments can be jarring for students especially first year freshman who are required to live on campus. One of the main appeals to my parents to enroll me at SHSU when I was an incoming freshman was how safe the campus was in comparison to other colleges in Texas. Now some of these instances are unavoidable, but having a committee that is actively think tanking ideas on how to make campus a safer place, would at the very lease ease the minds of parents who are away from their children for the first time. Also the added precautions of a safety committee, may defer individuals from committed these acts at all. I believe that any added precautions that can be applied to make a campus community a safer place should be acted upon without hesitation. And the reintroduction of a solution that has previously been in practice seems like a very logical first step, in solving the crime issue that is plaguing our campus community.
The students of this University have a right to be able to practice their education in an environment without fear or anxiety. Therefore, the administration has a responsibility to do anything in their power to ensure the well being of everyone who calls themselves a Bearkat. Nevertheless, it is up to everyone who calls the Sam Houston campus home to make it a secure environment. But it is time our tuition is put to use in a way that serves the students needs, and the campus safety committee is a fundamental need.