How Students are Fighting for Campus Safety

There is no doubt that safety on campus is a huge issue. Even if we disregarded last October, the University of Utah was still not as safe as comparable Utah institutions. According to the Department of Education, in 2017, the U had 32 more motor vehicle thefts, 11 more rapes, and 19 more burglaries than BYU, which has about a thousand more students. Students on campus are scared. According to the 2018 Campus Climate Survey 45% of undergraduate students had experienced harassment. This is unacceptable.

It’s impossible not to notice all of the SafeU signs that have gone up all over campus. October is supposed to be about safety, but there are many students that don’t think that a mere media campaign can make a difference. There are students who are fighting for change. The Students for a Democratic Society held a rally for police accountability. Now a group that calls themselves UnsafeU seek campus-wide and administrative change.  UnsafeU, a play on the new PR media campaign SafeU, has made a list of demands to present to the administration.  These demands include increased funding towards UPD, allocating funds from the administration budget to the Center for Student Wellness, and demanding all UPD reports be responded to within 12 hours. These demands do not seem to be unreasonable in the least.

Image result for safe u signs u of u There are ways to get involved to show that you, too, are concerned about safety on campus. UnsafeU has a petition to show student support for their demands. At the time of writing this article there were 263 signatures and counting. One student commented that she was signing “because as a tuition-paying student I deserve to feel safe, respected and heard on campus.” Another stated “ I’m signing because no one else should have to die for the U to prove they care about student safety.”UnsafeU is hosting a protest* on Monday, October 21st. It will take place at 12pm in front of the Park Building at the top of Presidents’ Circle. Issues like campus safety can’t continue to be swept under the rug. The reputation of the university means nothing if students are not safe. The university exists because of the students. Students should be the main priority, and it has been shown that this is not the case. As one UnsafeU organizer said, “...we’ve tried to talk to administrators, they’ve been very vague. It’s been disheartening and frustrating.” The group has a meeting scheduled with President Watkins on Monday. It is my hope, and the hope of so many other students, that administration will listen to our pleas and enact real change

*If going to a protest isn't in the cards for your Monday, you can still wear purple to show support for the cause and Lauren McCluskey's greiving family.

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