Due to the recent Virginia Tech Massacre, much discussion has come up about our own campus security. I am one of many students here who are now questioning how safe they feel. The chances of such a tragedy at Castleton are slim we know, but it can in fact happen anywhere. Even to our own small college with a big heart. I’m sure you have already questioned these circumstances yourselves. I’m also sure that there are financial, political, administrative, and other factors that I cannot grasp as you do. But I still feel the need to speak up for my fellow classmates. Even in my High School we had emergency phones in every room. My friend’s colleges have PA systems in every building including dorms, to spread important announcements. They also have gender-coded bathroom keys to unlock the bathrooms. None of these things do we have. Public safety and the blue emergency posts can only prevent so much. Many students here don’t have room phones or even check their email, so information of emergency circumstances may often go unknown.
The gravel lot is one of our main problems. With the bad lighting in the beginning of the year, the walking trail in between it and the school, and even the isolation of the lot are reasonable concerns. We all know that assaults have taken place there and although a spotlight was put up in response, that honestly just lights us up as targets. I think many people are embarrassed to ask for safe walk and a classmate of mine had a story to tell. When she called for safe walk she was asked if it was because she just wanted to get out of the cold with a ride. Rumors or not, there is a lack of security on campus.
I myself, live in Babcock and I’m disturbed that because of the tutoring room, Babcock’s main entry is almost never locked. Someone can easily hitch a ride up once inside. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found trash cans propping open the stairwell doors on the main floor. I can only kick so many. I’m sure we can all agree about the ridiculous amount of fire alarms and extinguishers set off in the building this year. Even during vacation!
Not only for our own safety, but to be an example for other colleges, we should increase our methods of security. Yes, we students play a role in propping those doors open and other issues, but we can only be accountable for so much. With the tuition we pay (out of state myself) I think it’s not unreasonable to ask you to make us feel safer. We depend on those in control of the school to keep us safe while educating us. We are away from our families and need that support. Vermont is quite the hunting state and therefore guns are obviously nearby. Having the Essex shooting so close doesn’t help either.
My classmates and I know the Castleton staff has our best interests at heart and do what they can with what they have. But times like these are when we really need you to prove it to us. I hope that this e-mail can give you a taste of what those who don’t want to speak out are thinking. Maybe you can work off some of the ideas that I’ve mentioned are in place at other schools. I love this college and have all the faith that you will do the best you can. Thank you.