Students do not feel protected on campus, security needs to tighten

By Farah Bassyouni Oct9,2023

All the way back in 2020, I was a freshman living in Dolan Hall. At that time, several female-identifying students reported being assaulted and harassed on campus, including near my residence hall. I remember being disappointed in the lack of evening/night-time patrolling by campus safety, as well as scared by how many incidents happened by my place of residence. Now, in 2023, as a senior living in the Kappa Delta sorority house, I feel the same way as I did four years ago. In order to not have the past repeat itself, security needs to be tightened around campus so that students can feel safe. 

Since starting the school year, I have witnessed a lot of unsafe situations around campus that made me wish there were more safety measures put into place. This past week, I was leaving my sorority house, I passed some parked cars and I saw a man sitting in front of one of them. He was mostly hidden from view, in a corner between the car and the edge of Gulick Hall. I barely saw his face, though he looked to be about 30 years old. With several recent sightings and reports of men harassing and threatening assault on women on campus, I thought “better safe than sorry” and called campus safety.  I later found out the man I saw was just a student, but it made me embarrassed to have had campus security interrogate a student. 

There have been other times, where it was not a student I was encountering. Last week, as I was walking to Shirk Center, I was verbally harassed by a man walking onto the campus. Unfortunately, the man was walking fast enough I felt campus safety would not respond in time to approach him. This happens too often to too many students on campus, so I decided to ask other students about their experiences feeling safe on campus. In 2020, I asked the same question to my floormates, all female-identifying students at Illinois Wesleyan Participants at that time said security was seemingly only being seen near Dolan Hall in the morning and afternoon, but not at all during the evening/night time. The incidents in 2020 all occurred in the evening and at night time, and I am noticing the same trend now.

Now, in 2023, I conducted another poll of current, female-identified students at Illinois Wesleyan. I asked them several questions: including ranking satisfaction of security from 1-5.. 75% of the respondents ranked campus safety as a 2 out of 5, with 1 being not satisfied at all, and 5 being very satisfied. The most common answer as to what people would change would be faster response times, increased patrolling, and “actually doing anything”.  

While there are many improvements that could be made to help students feel comfortable on campus, Campus Safety is already trying to be more present for students. When the incidents on campus happened in 2020, I honestly did see more officers patrolling campus at night, which I did appreciate. Even last week when I called about the suspicious man by Gulick Hall, the responded quickly to my call. 

Illinois Wesleyan’s campus may be small, but the amount of incidents that still happen is unnerving. With residential neighborhoods lining all sides of the quad, anyone who isn’t a student can walk onto campus and do god knows what. The best thing that Campus Safety can do to protect students is listen when reports are made and continue to make improvements to the patrolling and response times based on what the students truly need.

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