Column: University must hold student safety to a higher standard

After an on-campus shooting, an armed robbery and the discovery of anti-semitic drawings in residence halls, students deserve to feel safer on this campus

Many of us have at least heard about the police shooting that took place in Hitt Street Parking Garage last week. If you pay attention to campus news, you may have also heard about the anti-Semitic writings that were found in one of our residence halls on campus and the armed robbery that recently took place near campus.

These incidents are in no way mirroring the culture and community of our campus, and we cannot continue to let dangerous situations like these fly under the radar after a few days or a week. We are a very active and large campus with many students of many backgrounds, and we should be sure to maintain the safety of all students as they navigate through MU.

When the 51-year-old man was killed April 15, many MU students took to Twitter to express how they felt about the situation happening so close to campus. Some students felt that they were not informed of an all-out manhunt happening near their residence halls and homes and expressed fears of what could have happened.

The man who was killed was a registered sex offender in Missouri. He apparently tried to run from the police and was shot after having a confrontation with officers. If the suspect truly did spark an altercation with the officers and made them fear for their lives, they were justified in firing shots. Some students immediately assumed the worst and tried to figure out why he had been shot and no one was notified until after the fact, while others did research on what race and age the suspect was and expressed their concerns over social media.

MU emergency announcements were sent out at around 11:30 p.m. after the suspect was shot, and students were angered that they had known nothing about the incident through MU before all of the shooting took place.

The students have a right to know what is happening around them and can’t be expected to always depend on social media to inform them of news and issues around them.

Considering how close the shooting took place to campus, and the fact that some students even witnessed it and saw the body of a dead man, is something that should be of concern. Law enforcement and the university can’t do anything about where a criminal decided to hide out then provoke them, but they can be more proactive with how they inform students and make sure everyone is safe.

A near-campus shooting, sexual assault or anti-Semitic writings on a wall are all serious offenses that should be thoroughly investigated and handled. I have faith that our campus and community law enforcement officers will do a good job with future instances, but I also want to know that things are being done to keep these events from even happening.

It is the responsibility of university officials to hold students’ safety in the highest regard, but it is also the responsibility of students to know what is going on around them and try to maintain a safe environment for everyone. No comments or drawings that could offend a student or group of students should be tolerated. When dangerous situations are happening, students should be the first to know — and not just through social media.

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