By Christian Cullen, Staff Writer
The start of the school year always brings very fun shopping trips: going to Target to get decorations for your dorm, going to Kroger to get snacks for those late night study sessions and going on Amazon to get a steering wheel lock so that your car does not get stolen.
Xavier students returned to campus last week with all the normal worries of an academic year, but for many of us, it’s our first year living off-campus. We have to deal with grocery trips, walking or driving to campus everyday and a whole host of new concerns. Chief among these concerns is our safety. Obviously when one is living on campus, one must be concerned about their safety. However, it’s simply different once you move from Kuhlman to Cleneay. Instead of an incredibly well-lit yard, you have dark sidewalks stretching back into the neighborhoods.
Instead of the easily accessible and quick response from the blue light system, you’ll have to pull your phone out and call an emergency number — XUPD or CPD. Thank God I don’t have any classes later than 4 p.m. Otherwise, it would be a long walk back home in the dark.
There are clear steps Xavier students can take to stay safe: Be aware of your surroundings, try not to travel alone and so on. But the impetus should not be completely on us students. I understand that off-campus living is, well, off campus. This affects both Xavier’s responsibility and ability to ensure safety. I also understand that a place as safe an environment as on-campus living is never truly possible. But I still feel as though Xavier should be making strides to ensure that all students feel safe at this university, not just those who live on campus.
Firstly, we must acknowledge the rash amount of break-ins at Xavier and the areas surrounding it. Simply put, it’s abhorrent. Multiple students had their cars broken into, including Xavier residential students. While I appreciate the wheel locks XUPD provided for students, it feels like a half-measure. It is a reactive measure to a problem that demands proactiveness. More patrols will help, but there are strides to be made with car protection past roaming the lots and installing locks.
I won’t sit here and say I have a solution, but it would be nice to know what steps are being taken, both to help those affected by the break-ins and those who are vulnerable to the break-ins.
It also should not be too much of an ask to extend the blue light system a bit farther. The blue light system is an essential part of on campus safety but can easily extend off campus. If XUPD can serve people off campus, then they should be able to install blue light pillars off campus as well.
There is also the issue of lighting on the walks, both to the Village and to areas off-campus. There are certainly more hoops to jump through on this front, but I would hope that Xavier could work with others to help make the walks back from class just a little bit more lit. If they cannot get the lighting to improve, even a shuttle up to the All For One Shop — or farther down Cleneay — would take a significant bite out of the walk back.
I doubt that some of the ideas I have will end up being implemented. However, the sentiment I expressed will hopefully persevere. Xavier should strive for the level of off-campus safety that I am asking them to hold in this article. I hope Xavier can improve the current situation so that the level of safety students feel off-campus can match the safety they feel on campus.