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ISSUE 117 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 11/21/2003

Safety Precautions Revisited

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor

Friday, November 21, 2003

As St. Olaf students we often like to complain about living in our Bubble but, as the two forced fondling incidents that occurred last weekend demonstrate, we are far from living the life of perfect little Lutherans running from class to the library and back to the dorm. Reality check: it’s 2003 and the number of forced fondlings, sexual assault and rape incidents have increased exponentially in the Twin Cities area.

Unfortunately the St. Olaf community has become part of that increasing number. If two reported incidents occurred last weekend, how many incidents could have gone unreported?

St. Olaf should seriously reconsider its long-held policy of key card locked residence halls after midnight. Whether or not the two reported incidents could have been prevented, with stricter key card rules, it is important to look at the broader implications of such events and how to protect students as much as possible. By implementing a 24-hour or even an after 5 p.m. key card enforced entry, the College could try to reduce the number of non-residents and people without business in the dorms gaining entry.

St. Olaf’s half-hearted attempt to increase security in student parking lots by installing a “blue light” phone gives students the false pretense that it will function as these phones were meant to – by automatically dialing the police. While in all actuality, users must dial public safety on the phone. On the chance that one was being attacked it is not likely they would have the time to put a call in and wait to be connected by the operator.

St. Olaf should put blue light phones and security measures throughout campus. We are close to a major metropolitan area as Mannebach suggests. Thus we need to take real safety precautions. These measures are not to frighten and make students feel unsafe as some have argued in the past, but instead are a preemptive measure that should increase awareness of would-be intruders that this is an environment that has a no tolerance policy for sexual violence.

While it is easy to lay the blame on the institution it is important that students take precautionary measures to ensure as much safety as possible. Don’t walk alone at night. Lock your room doors. We understand the women that were involved in the reported incidents this past weekend were victims, but to help prevent any more victims students must do everything they can to cut down their vulnerability.

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