Jessica Mondillo’s Blog

How did BU get an A for Campus Security?!?

19 February 2008

Reader’s Digest gave Boston University an A grade on college campus security. Out of the 135 colleges and universities that participated, BU ranked 11th. Although Reader’s Digest calls BU safe I think students on campus, including myself, would question the accuracy of that statement.

Considering the number of colleges that participated, I am surprised BU did so well. At the same time that number most likely does not accurately represent the number of schools in the US alone.

Three of the criteria for safety were the locks on dormitory doors (locks, chains, peepholes, etc.), the lecture at orientation and if the school has a mass emergency alert system.

Yes, the big dormitories have door locks (which are sometimes difficult to lock or unlock). But the smaller off campus dorms do not have the same quality door locks. Often in BU’s independent, student run newspaper, The Daily Free Press there are reports of break-ins and thefts at the apartments.

Yes, we had a half hour lecture on safety during orientation. Most people slept or talked through the lecture making it difficult to hear for those who were listening. That 30 minute lecture is the entirety of the safety briefing you get for your four years, unless a crime occurs.

Yes, we have a mass emergency alert system. It’s called Send Word Now. But on the tests, the 3 different messages come in several hours apart for most students. BU Police Department Chief, Thomas Robbins, even admits that many students turn off their cell phones during class and that certain parts of campus have bad reception. These problems make the Send Word Now system almost ineffective during an emergency.

The part that Reader’s Digest may have failed to take into account (or possibly didn’t know) was that at least 3 different girls have been sexually assaulted in dorms on campus THIS year. Only two of the men were caught. The dorm that two of the girls were sexually assaulted at has had repeated complaints of inattentive and rude security guards who were often not at the guard station.

The other problem is people getting hit by cars. Most of the accidents are minor and the pedestrian or bicyclist that is hit does not receive substantial injuries. This happens from people running red lights, not paying attention or students who feel that they should cross the street without looking. The BUPD has not helped this issue much. In fact a BUPD car hit a girl crossing the street one night while the police officer made an illegal U-Turn.

Although BU received an A from Reader’s Digest for safety, I do not feel any safer. In fact, I question if Reader’s Digest looked at all the information or only select pieces because in my mind the score they gave BU is misleading. If I had to rate campus safety I’d probably give it a C.

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