Staff Editorial: Exercising caution on campus

Campus. City. Classroom. We are all familiar with this touted admissions slogan, and as students we often use it to describe why we picked GW. We get the best of three worlds, with experiences most schools in rural areas cannot offer. Still, this overlap brings personal safety responsibilities that we often overlook.

On Friday, the University sent out a schoolwide crime alert e-mail regarding an incident where students were drinking on campus and may have been drugged. Another incident may have involved sexual assault. Last week, a student was assaulted and robbed on the corner of 20th and F streets.

If you didn’t even open the e-mail, or you read it and moved on, you are probably not alone.

GW does a remarkable job marketing our campus as one of the safe havens in an otherwise dangerous city, but this can lead students to arrive on campus with safety low on their priority list. Coupled with an “it can’t happen to me” attitude, students can have a false sense of security.

The University therefore uses the infomail system to warn us of possible safety issues. But when two of the infomails sent out within days of the crime alerts advertised tryouts for the GW women’s tennis team and an event involving a Swiss solar taxi, it is easy to see why many students ignore or disregard these e-mails. Since it doesn’t look like the University will be reforming their excessive infomail use any time soon, we should at least pay attention to the notices with “crime alert” in the subject line.

As college students, we get it. When the weekend hits, the last thing you want to worry about is keeping your guard up. The reality is, though, that we should. Watching your drink, locking your door, staying in groups – all of this can stop a good night out from going bad. The University promotes the use of 4-RIDE escort service and has a blue-light emergency response system installed throughout the campus. Students should take advantage of these services, especially in light of recent crimes.

None of this guarantees your safety, and even the most cautious among us can fall victim to crime – but a little caution can go a long way.

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