Student Security Petition

Two weeks One week from today at 1:30pm at Belmont and Western is the court date for the man who was arrested on campus and charged with sexual assault for his actions in the second floor women’s rest room.

Two things you should know:

1) Some of our students are planning a show of support for the victim, meeting in the lobby of HWC at 11:30 on Tuesday, November 1st before heading over to the courtroom, and I believe all are invited and welcome; and

2) Some of our students have put together a petition (which you can print out by clicking HERE) in light of what occurred and requested that I share it with other faculty so that anyone interested may share it with their students.

Should you decide to inform students of it (I did) and should any students sign it, you may drop it off in my mailbox on the 10th floor (in the Humanities office in room 1014, or you can shove it under my office door (1036), if I’m not there) and I’ll make sure that the organizing students receive the signed petitions.

In case you missed the story in the school paper, the petition gives the following as background:

On September 8, 2011, at approximately 7:20pm at Harold Washington College on the second floor, a man who was unaffiliated with HWC entered the women’s bathroom and attempted to sexually assault a female student.  The man attempted to climb under the occupied stall door at which timethe woman began screaming. The man then stood between the woman and the exit, naked from the waist down.  The woman screamed until the man exited the bathroom; the man was apprehended ten minutes later in the men’s bathroom, also on the second floor.

The petition’s signatories are identified as “concerned students who urge our leaders to act now to improve security protocols in our college,” collectively making four requests toward that end:

1. Email blasts are to be sent to all students detailing any and all criminal incidents that occur within or around the HWC campus. 

2. The “Security Policies and Crime Statistics Report” link on the HWC website will be updated as crimes occur, without an update lapse of more than a month. 

3. A full disclosure of security team functions, duties, obligations, and responsibilities is to be provided to students at HWC, either accessible via the HWC website or in conjunction with student safety seminars or events. 

4. Student safety seminars or events are to be performed each and every semester to ensure that all students are aware of potential safety hazards as well as the best practices for avoiding, combating, and reporting crimes that may occur on campus.

They seem to me to be reasonable requests, and I love the thoughtful and active approach that our students are taking to advocate for themselves and each other.

With the obvious exception of the impetus for it all, it seems to me to be good stuff all around.

UPDATE: Sorry about the screw-up. If you want more info (and belong to Facebook), you can find it HERE.

8 thoughts on “Student Security Petition

  1. Question — If the trial is on October 25 (one week from today), why are the students going to court on November 1 (two weeks from today)?
    Please clarify.

  2. As I understand it, information about security is part of each semester’s student orientation. In light of #4, if additional student outreach strategies are needed, orientation might be a good foundation to expand from.

  3. I believe that other CCC campuses require all employees and students to wear their identification cards while in the building. Persons without identification cards are then required to sign in near the entrance.
    Such a policy might be difficult to implement at HWC, but I think it could be done. It would make it more difficult for outsider criminals to commit crimes in the building.
    Glenn Weller

  4. I went to an orientation this semester for the Spring 2012 students and a member of our security team was there, introducing students to HWC and giving them advice on how to stay safe, evacuate, etc… It was informative, with some common sense reminders mixed in (don’t leave your stuff, report a crime immediately, etc).

    Does this make the likelihood of a crime occurring within the building decrease? Probably not. We do have an open door policy; so does Macy’s, Old Navy and Block 37. Statistically, crime is down on campus, according to the last security report I have on file, from 2010. Simple battery dropped from 18 incidents in 2007 to only 1 in 2009. Thefts went from 18 in 2007 to 7 in 2009. Simple assault dropped from 7 incidents in 2007 to 4 in 2009.

    Sex related incidents (a category from the report) and Rape did not occur during this time period.

    Compared to other college’s/universities, we probably have an average crime rate compared to the student population. If you want to look at it from an incident per square foot p.o.v. it would jump exponentially, I imagine.

    Is there still need for concern? Should the student body be meddling with things like security protocols and petitioning?

    • If not them, who?

      And, while I feel pretty safe on our campus (and on the campuses of the other colleges), I appreciated the Safety Alert email that I received yesterday (which was one of the petition requests).

      Glenn is right about the IDs being required for entry at the other colleges (and that may be coming soon to HWC). We’ll probably be having some discussions on that topic soon at HWC, about the benefits and costs of such a policy.

      Still, I don’t see the harm (in the meantime) of having up to date safety information and I see the drawbacks of NOT having that kind of info. It’s part of being an informed citizen, right?

  5. Indeed, the crime alerts are surely needed. I grew up with the mantra, “…and knowing is half the battle.” It still resonates within me today.

    But it seems like the student body is unconcerned, almost apathetic, to the very realistic possibility of being targeted by a thief, mugger or assailent in and around campus.

    This petition and the response from not only our campus but district as well should be a litmus test of how concerned we are as an institution about security and safety for everyone.

    Hopefully, we are.

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