Ladies, prepare your pepper spray and hide your papers and pencils, because they’re scaring everybody up in here (and by that, I mean on campus). As of late, Kutztown has become a scary place to be, and I don’t just mean during finals week when everyone is out of their minds with worry. With the recent break-ins and assaults, it’s hard to know if you’re safe or not. The answer? Never. The only protection you have is being prepared. And on this campus of ours, I feel like there is more preparation to be done about campus safety for everyone.
We all know someone—you could even be that someone—who has that 6-9 p.m. lab or class on the north side of campus. While the days are getting longer and the sun sets much later than in the winter, walking around on campus alone is seriously a dangerous thing to do. But it doesn’t have to be. Having friends in class is a great way to stay safe when walking home. But what about those who are alone when walking home at night?
Public Safety (yes, they do an excellent job, and man, those uniforms!) have Blue Beacons on campus that you can contact in case you feel afraid walking by yourself. But really, if you were scared and alone with someone following you, would you really stop to use one? Would you wait the five minutes it would take for the police to arrive to escort you back to your living space? No. In dangerous situations, you respond purely on instinct. So while the beacons are a great idea and could potentially ward off creepers when walking home from class, I feel as though perhaps more could be done.
For example, the shuttle bus on campus runs Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from Thursday through Sunday also from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Now, I don’t know about you, but next semester, my 3-hour night class is on a Tuesday. I would really like having a way to get home from one of the farthest buildings on campus (Lytle) back to South Campus. While the distance is not too long of a walk, it’s even farther for people who live in Golden Bear Village South (approximately a whole mile). While that isn’t strenuous or difficult, that isn’t the problem. The problem is walking that whole half-a-mile or mile by yourself in the dark. It would be much easier to get on a safe and lit bus than to walk back in the dark by yourself.
Besides, is it really fair to offer the shuttle on the nights of the week when students on a dry campus go drinking but to ignore students who are walking home from class? I’ll leave that answer to you. While the weekend shuttle is a good idea, perhaps make the shuttle run until at least 9:30 p.m. every day. That way, students on campus can make it home safely without fearing things that go bump in the night (or in the bushes by Old Main).
Overall, campus safety is up to each and every one of us. If you want to protect yourself, mace and even tasers are an excellent way to do so. Ladies, if you see another person walking by themselves (even guys can get scared!), do not feel embarrassed to offer them an escort. Guys, do your part! Escort your fellow bros or ladies to where they need to be safely. Public Safety always gives you the mantra of “If you feel unsafe in someone’s presence…,” but I think they need to also emphasize, “If you feel unsafe by yourself” as well. You are part of this campus, and believe it or not, it’s your job to help protect your fellow student. You don’t have to be a super hero, but you can just be a good person. After all, wouldn’t you feel safer walking with someone who cared enough to make sure you were okay? Don’t be that guy or gal. Help someone out; you never know what could be hiding around the corner.
By Kayla Reichle