By The Editorial Board
When it comes to being prepared for a school shooting, an assault or being threatened at gunpoint, victims may have only a matter of seconds to defend themselves. Although the university has multiple programs and services designed to keep students safe on campus, like the BU Campus Guardian app, individuals who have just moved to or around campus may not know what to do in a situation like this.
Less than two weeks into the semester, messages from multiple female students have been circling around sorority group chats and the Baylor community about roommates or friends getting threatened at gunpoint, being robbed or being jumped in the street.
BUPD has built multiple programs and services students can count on for when there is an emergency on campus. These programs include resources like active shooter training, crime free multi-housing and late-hour transportation. However, after reviewing all the programs, services and platforms the university provides, there is still a need for more comprehensive safety education for students, faculty and staff in the event of an assault or attack.
There is no way of predicting anyone’s response to an attack or an emergency on campus, but it would help if the university implemented more structured training.
Baylor has a system to spread word quickly of incidents that happen on or around campus called ‘Baylor Alert.’ This is another vital service that should be utilized as often as necessary. There is no such thing as too much communication when it comes to students’ safety.
At around 8 p.m. on Jan. 17, the first day of classes, a student sent out a message to her sorority about a suspect pointing a gun to her roommate’s head outside their house, threatening her life for her car keys and taking her car. Two days later, on the morning of Jan. 19, another student sent a message to her sorority warning that one of her friends was the victim of an attempted robbery the night before as she was leaving the Stacy Riddle Panhellenic building. Five days later, on Tuesday, the message about a female student getting jumped at noon circled through group chats, and that’s when the first and only Baylor Alert was sent to the Baylor community.
So, why did Baylor fail to send an alert when the incidents started over a week ago?
The university should have been faster to alert students they should be aware of danger off and on campus during this time.
Students deserve to know if they are at risk walking at certain hours of the day, whether at 12:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. Everyone should be well-informed and prepared in case of an emergency.
One of the solutions we propose is a part of each classroom’s syllabus should include an emergency and crisis response plan and protocols for on and off campus. This would mean almost everyone on campus would be aware of what to do in case they experienced a violent attack. Although the recent crimes have mostly been off campus, that’s not to say a dangerous situation can’t easily happen on campus as well.
Another solution for students is to take a class on self defense, like Martial Arts I: Beginning self defense, a Lifetime Fitness course. This would encourage students in certain situations to take charge of their own safety.
President Linda Livingstone sent out her weekly Presidential Perspective mentioning Baylor’s multiple security measures for the community in order to reassure they take the safety and security of their students, staff, faculty and visitors seriously. Some of these measures include, approximately 1800 cameras around campus, LED lights in parking garages and multiple phone numbers for either BUPD or Waco PD. Although there is protection provided for everyone, the current programs and resources could go further to provide what we believe should be an inclusive, educational requirement to have students, staff and faculty prepared in case of an emergency, threat or robbery.
We may not know what it’s like to be involved or be the victim of a traumatic event like the ones we’ve mentioned before, but we do know what it’s like to be students at Baylor. Students who don’t have a clear understanding on what to do in case something like that happened to us, which is something we believe Baylor could improve on preparing its community for.
Lariat Editor-in-Chief Rachel Royster, one of the reporters currently covering the event from Jan. 17 regarding a car-jacking incident, is a part of The Editorial Board but was not a part of this editorial.