Late Monday night I was woken up with the main-line phone number of Seton Hall flashing on my phone. After picking up, I was informed yet another armed robbery occurred close to campus.
While trying to fall back asleep I started to think about all that has happened this year. I also thought about the changes that have occurred since coming here as a freshman three years ago.
With the tragedy of the shooting in September, the reported rape in November and the multiple armed robberies and muggings, many of us have wondered what the University is doing to keep us aware and safe. Monday night's call is something that shows me that the university has done something, and has listened.
With the overflow of violence this fall myself, and I'm sure many of you were wondering why weren't we immediately informed when these instances happened, especially when these were happening on-campus, or in the surrounding area. We wondered why the university felt compelled to give us the 5 a.m. wake ups to inform us of delayed openings but not that an armed robbery that had happened on Ward Place, a street numerous student live on or use to get to other side streets, or an alleged rape, at the time thought to be true, happened near the library.
I know on that night I was walking by myself out of Duffy Hall at the same time of the alleged sexual assault, and for the first time as a student here I did not feel safe on my own campus.
Besides the robberies off campus, things have seemed to slow down, within reason of course, but it is still nice to see that the University is taking the safety of this campus seriously. The second gate at the front of campus is still closed and all cars without a parking sticker are checked. There are more security guards at gates at night, especially those on the backside of campus. The SHUFLY has extended its hours, along with a constant reminder by the University to use the CASE van.
Coming from a small town in Maine where we don't lock our doors and leave our cars unlocked in our driveways, I knew that coming here was going to be a different atmosphere and I was going to have to be much more cautious. Though over the last three years I have almost developed numbness towards violence. In high school, if someone had been held up by gunpoint, I would have been much more affected. But now I roll back over on my pillow and sleep soundly because it is just another day in the life of a Seton Hall student.
That being said, I do feel much safer knowing that the school has listened to students to use the technology we have for good use. I still do feel safe on our campus. Leaving a late meeting, or our weekly Setonian production, I have no problem walking across campus by myself. And I do hope that people take the University's persistent advice to not walk alone, especially at night, off campus. They can't change the area, our school and the people who inhabit it, but if all members of the Seton Hall community listen and are more street smart, much more of the instance can be avoided.
I hope future students of our school will still be able to come here and feel safe as I did as a freshman, that they won't develop a numbness towards violence and will strive to make this a safe place to live, and to learn.
Caitlin Cunningham is a junior interactive advertising art major from Dayton, Maine. She can be reached at email@example.com.