You can’t turn on the television without hearing another story about some college student from some university who has either died, been abducted, robbed, assaulted, roofied, etc.
And, of course, every school that this college student attends gets, let’s just say, a bad rep.
Parents start to worry about sending their kids to this school specifically, incoming students drop their admissions, and schools are left scurrying to give an explanation. When really, it’s not their fault to begin with.
Take it from me, someone who, while in college, had her apartment broken into (twice), was assaulted on the street, and robbed.
My roommate and I were walking home one night from the bars when two guys and two girls who were walking ahead of us decided they were looking for trouble. We were assaulted by all four, one who was carrying a concealed, stolen gun, and robbed. Luckily, they were caught and charged.
However, our university caught the backlash of the community and other parents. Our story was on the news and word spread like wildfire.
I read comments online from others about how we “shouldn’t have been out that late” and “the school needs to do something about the crime in the town.”
No. For one, it wasn’t our fault for staying out late and walking home from the bar, a block away from our apartment, in a pair, at 22 years of age. We could have been walking home from watching a movie at a friends house, or the library, and it still could have happened. And no, it wasn’t the school or the town’s fault. If anything, it’s thanks to them that we were okay and that these people, who didn’t even attend the school or live in the town, were brought to justice.
We were lucky, and I felt bad that our university had to take the rap for what had happened to us. Especially because I never once, in my entire four years attending school, felt unsafe. I was never, ever afraid and I was never uneasy about my safety – even after the assault and the break ins.
We just happened to be in the wrong place and the wrong time, and it could have happened to anyone, anywhere, at any university. In fact, they do. We see it happen every day and we read the stories online and we watch it being reported on the news. The point is, we need to stop blaming the universities as if they are responsible, because they’re simply not.
The best thing a university can do is to educate students on what to do, who to call, and reassure them that they are on the student’s side, no matter the situation, because college students will continue to find themselves in trouble all of the time; even in some of the safest places across America.
We didn’t blame the school or police for our lack of safety that night. The media did. The school and police never once blamed us for being legal seniors walking home at 2am. The community did. And because of that, the school and the police came off terrible to those tuning into the news that Sunday evening.
As a society, we need to stop accusing universities for the terrible things that happen on and off campus. If they could prevent it, they would. But unfortunately, we live in a world where bad people will always exist and bad things will always happen. And that’s not a single college university’s fault, it’s society’s.