Take our safety seriously

Sexual assault is a problem on college campuses across the country and Oswego State is no different. School officials recently announced the updated Title IX guidelines, in order to meet a federal mandate. The mandate requires colleges to be fully compliant with federal Title IX regulations by July 2015.

On an annual basis, colleges are required to report their crime statistics on and around their campuses. This is part of the Jeanne Clery Act, originally called the Campus Security Act. In 1998, the law was named after Jeanne Clery who was raped and murdered in her Lehigh University dorm room, according to the Clery Center. The law requires that annual security reports be published by Oct. 1 of each year. Oswego State’s University Police posts these reports on the Oswego.edu website and the most recent report is the 2012 report, which was updated in September of 2013. In less than a month the university will be required to publish its annual report for 2013. This seems like quite the lag for reports to actually inform students.

Students should know well before over a month into the semester if their campus is safe or not.

The UP 2012 report shows that there were six forcible sex offenses in 2012 and five each in 2011 and 2010 for a total of 16 in the past three years. While the numbers for 2013 are still being computed, and 2014 is still ongoing, recent incidents in residence halls have led students question their safety on campus. There should be no question that students are safe on Oswego State’s campus. Students choose Oswego State for higher education because both sexual and aggravated assault numbers are low. However, six sex offenses are too many.

There should be no reason that any person should feel uncomfortable walking on campus after their night class. UP has a presence that is constantly seen on campus, whether they are patrolling the campus or walking in buildings, everyone knows they are not far away. However, the problem remains with the secrecy that is the Office of Student Conduct and Compliance. Student proceedings are held in secrecy and their results are rarely shared with the campus community. Other than knowing that incidents occurred, Oswego State officials rarely reveal the disciplinary punishment dealt out at the hands of this office.

The mission of the office, according to their webpage, is to educate “the campus community on standards of responsible citizenship in a diverse learning environment by providing meaningful and intentional                                                                  educational opportunities.”

Yet, students are still entering other students’ rooms unwanted and people still look over their shoulder while walking home at night. It does not seem that students are being educated on “responsible citizenship.”

Until major steps are taken to ensure student safety on this campus and in the surrounding area, Oswego State should seriously take a look at its current regulations and should be more active in educating students on their rights             and responsibilities.