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While in Los Angeles meeting with alumni last week, I learned about the terrible shootings at Northern Illinois University. Like everyone else, I was shocked and dismayed. Since returning this Monday I have met with many of the people responsible for the safety of our campus community. Incidents such as the NIU tragedy remind us that we can never stop looking for ways to improve campus security; that we can never review our procedures and policies enough to ensure they are as strong as they can be in protecting our students, faculty, and staff.

Recent events on our campus have caused some to question whether our policies go far enough in ensuring that our students are safe. Let me assure you that I have full confidence that we would never allow a student or other member of the campus community to remain on campus, let alone in a position of authority, if we believed that they might pose a threat in any way.

The safety of our students is always paramount in our actions; the safety of our students is not just about better door locks, more lighting, and strict policies. Those things are important. But more important, we need to do our jobs as educators to help students understand their rights and how to respect the rights of others. We need to be ever vigilant and constantly strive to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for our students, and for every member of our community.

A Comment on Campus Safety from President Peggy R. Williams | 4 Comments |
The following comments are the opinions of the individuals who posted them. They do not necessarily represent the position of Intercom or Ithaca College, and the editors reserve the right to monitor and delete comments that violate College policies.
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A Comment on Campus Safety from President Peggy R. Williams Comment from ktursky1 on 02/21/2008
"Let me assure you that I have full confidence that we would never allow a
student or other member of the campus community to remain on campus, let
alone in a position of authority, if we believed that they might pose a threat
in any way," ...
There is something very wrong with this statement, and I don't just mean that
grammatically the "they" should be "he or she." I'm assuming this was
referring to the 2 articles in the Ithacan last week, a cover story and an
editorial, that both an incident on campus was discussed in which a male RA
was accused and found guilty of raping a female student and was allowed to
keep his position as RA. If what these articles stated were true (and I trust
that anyone permitted to write for the Ithacan has researched his or her facts
and that the editor and double checks before allowing articles to print) then
the quoted statement is absurd. What it is saying to me then is that the
college believes that a convicted rapist does not pose a threat to students,
thus should be allowed to not only remain on campus but also in a position
of authority. Am I the only one that finds something VERY wrong with this?
A Comment on Campus Safety from President Peggy R. Williams Comment from sgleaso1 on 02/21/2008
So when exactly do you plan to reinstall those 2 Emergency Blue Light Phones
(north of Whalen and next to Friends/the new Business School) that have been
gone for about a year now? Just out of curiosity -- for safety's sake.
A Comment on Campus Safety from President Peggy R. Williams Comment from dscibil1 on 02/21/2008
If safety of students is such an issue then you might want to check with the ResLife person who was quoted in the Ithacan as saying that it was more of an offense for an RA to sell pot than to force sex on a peer, maybe get on the same page there... Your rhetoric is tiring. This school has an absurdly lenient policy on every offense, whether it be drinking, drug use or apparently even rape. A slap on the wrist does not keep us safe from the large number of idiots on this campus - it's real action, regardless of if it makes you or the college look bad, that would make a difference.
A Comment on Campus Safety from President Peggy R. Williams Comment from bmyers on 02/21/2008

It's a tragedy somewhat close to home to me this time as I lived and worked in the area in the 80s and 90s and knew a number of NIU staff, faculty, students and alumni. It's certainly a tragedy, but one of those circumstances that defies both explanation and any ability for others to forecast and prevent.

Why I'm posting though is about the personal aspect of campus safety: It's everyone's responsibility. I think too many of us may take that responsibility lightly. Every student, staff and faculty member at Ithaca College is as responsible for our campus remaining a safe learning environment as is the institution's response plan. I think we all must do more to:

  • take notice of those around us on campus
  • respect the differences in others
  • embrace our diversity
  • secure our own security by things as simple as:
    1. locking our residential doors
    2. reporting situations to Campus Safety immediately
    3. reporting compromised security equipment to Facilities and ITS promptly

There's an old adage worth considering: "If you don't have your own best interest at heart, who else do you expect will?" I'm not advocating we all become paranoid and retire to our bunkers, but protecting us all is about all of us making the effort.