Why Are Students Living In Fear On College Campuses?

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I’d imagine the last thing a parent thinks when dropping their barely legal child off at their freshman dormitory is if they will receive that dreadful call about a horrible tragedy. Making it to college is a time of celebration. But celebrations have been followed by mourning.

On September 16, 18-year-old Dominique Frazier was stabbed to death by her roommate. According to witnesses, the two Bowie State University students had a disagreement after Alexis Simpson, 19, turned off the music Frazier and her friends were listening to before heading out for a comedy show. In the hallway of their on-campus apartment Simpson emerged with a knife and began swinging, fatally stabbing Frazier in the neck. Simpson will most likely spend the majority of her life behind bars while Frazier was robbed of her chance to fully live her life — a tragedy for all involved.

Bowie State University isn’t the only college where students are at risk of being the victim of a horrendous crime.

Everette Howard was fresh out of high school and attending a summer program at the University of Cincinnati. There are various accounts of what happened, but what is known is that Howard died after being tasered by campus police. The officer was placed on paid administrative leave. Whether it’s student violence, violence in the surrounding neighborhood or police wrongfully killing college students, a conversation about trends of violence has to be had.

College campuses aren’t isolated from the neighborhoods or cities they are a part of. College students are also humans that are not magically above crime or violence because they attend college. Because of that certain events are inevitable. But it shouldn’t be the norm. We shouldn’t expect the possibility that bright eyed, promising youth aren’t even safe on their college campuses.

When I was in college, fights were common. Some took place on the yard while others were reserved for parties or the apartment complex on campus. Any extra ruckus happened when the non-college students would parlay on our campus and cause trouble. I never felt unsafe. According to the Fall 2009 National College Health Assessment by the American College Health Association, only 31.6 percent of students said they felt “very safe” on their campuses at night. That number should be much higher.

In no way am I implying the crime rate on college campus is anything to be alarmed about. But we’d be remiss not to pay attention to what has been occurring lately where college students are being killed on campus.

It is up to students to refrain from questionable behavior that can lead to violence and death. And it is the administration’s responsibility to make sure they are creating a safe haven for students on their campuses. If police are wrongfully killing college students they must be held accountable. We can’t afford to lose any more of our youth to senseless violence.

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