It's terrifying walking around campus when there's an active threat. It's nerve-wracking being in big lecture halls where anybody can walk in. Mizzou: what can we do to prevent what happened at Mississippi State and Savannah State last week so it doesn't happen to us?
Columbia, Mo. isn't a big town. Nestled in the southern part of the Midwest, the nearest major city is two hours east or west. When you walk around at night, the streets are filled with partiers and late night library-goers. It's safe. It's secure. No matter where you go, you're surrounded by college students whom you feel you can somewhat trust.
But it seems like that trust is eroding after the events of last semester. Students received email after email about robberies, sexual assaults, and shots fired. A bomb threat was made at the student center. A man was shot and killed in a parking garage. Two weeks into this fall semester, the freshman were welcomed to Mizzou with emails of a pistol seen in a car, and shots fired near campus. Welcome to Mizzou?
Last Thursday night, a man opened fire at Savannah State University, killing one student. The University issued a statement which said, “The safety of those who live, study, work and visit Savannah State University remains a top priority. No exceptions. Savannah State University has zero tolerance for violence of any kind."
This vision is a widespread, common-sense ideal at all college campuses. To attract people to a university and stay there, the students, staff, and visitors need to feel safe.
But a college campus is free reign. It's not like you have to show an ID to walk on the sidewalk or go into a building in broad daylight. Anyone could come to a big lecture hall, sit down, and listen to the professor without having to pay a dime. And that means that anyone could come to a big lecture hall and open fire without anyone stopping them.
Mizzou is a public institution, and those attending are taking the risk of violence at any time. Those walking down the streets of Columbia take the risk of violence just by walking down a public sidewalk. So when universities claim that, "This campus is violence-free and it will not be tolerated," how can the student body create a culture of safety on campus?