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Safety email prompts questioning of OSU Student Life

Like all Ohio State students, I recently received an email regarding the armed robberies occurring in the campus area from Javaune Adams-Gaston, the vice president for Student Life at Ohio State. This email left me incensed, and quite certain that OSU is in fact, out of touch with student life.

I’m going to break the email down for you.

First off, Adams-Gaston assures us that it is not the victims’ fault, the blame is entirely on the criminals. This is important to clarify, because I’m sure many of us were wondering.

Then she continues with some profound tips on how to stay safe, such as “don’t walk alone after dark, stay on well-lighted streets, stay alert to your surroundings, don’t carry large amounts of money or other valuables and report suspicious activity to police.” Maybe it’s just me, but I think Adams-Gaston might be underestimating our intelligence as college students here.

Adams-Gaston suggests that if we do end up alone after dark, we should call the Student Escort Service for a ride or walk to our destination. This is great in theory but in practice it doesn’t really work. Escorts are limited and must be made many hours in advance, so unless you know way ahead of time that you are going to end up alone in an unsafe situation, you’re out of luck.

Adams-Gaston also thinks we should consider a complimentary self-defense course offered by OSU. What a nice offer, and they are free! Unfortunately all of the robberies have been armed, so I’m not sure how effective a self-defense course would be. Additionally, is Adams-Gaston suggesting that we attempt to fend off these gun-wielding assailants ourselves? Come on, even I know that the last thing you are supposed to do is resist when someone has a weapon.

What this letter does not include is any indication that OSU will in any way be offering additional security to its students. Come on, OSU, with all of the student fees you insist on, I’m sure you could purchase more vans for the Student Escort Service, or dispatch additional security officers into campus and its surrounding area. If the university can scrounge up more than $100 million to build a new student union then I don’t think it should be a problem for it to increase security for its students. Let’s hope that it doesn’t take someone getting seriously hurt, or even killed, for OSU’s administration to open its eyes and protect its students.

So my response to OSU’s response? Get real, and get in touch with your students.

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