Sadly many recent events suggest the answer could be no. I don’t just refer to the Virginia Tech mass shootings but to the Laura Dickenson murder/cover up at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) as well as the many other tragedies.
For those that may not be familiar with the case, Laura Dickenson was a young woman who attended college at EMU and was found dead in her room back on December 15, 2006. She was found after complaints of a horrible smell coming from her room.
She had been raped and murdered by a fellow student, in February of this year they arrested Orange Amir Taylor, who is accused of the crime. Reportedly, DNA was used to help determine the suspect so it appears they have a good case.
This is a sad story, but it gets worse; it seems that EMU attempted to “cover up” the crime. They reportedly told all of the students that Laura died from “natural causes” when they knew this to not be correct.
At this point it has turned into a blame game of who knew what and who didn’t but it boils down to one thing and one thing only. Colleges are businesses and they make a ton of money off of their students and they can’t have students being scared off by crime rates.
Now this is a sad state of affairs, when your child’s safety is in the hands of people who’s driving force is money. I know I might get some heat for that statement but I don’t care. EMU and other institutions have proved my point over and over again.
The bread and butter of every College is enrollment numbers and of course the ever rising outrageous costs of a college education. But you have to think of this from that standpoint when you are deciding where to send your child to school.
The colleges tend not to report a lot of crime to the police (I believe, they don’t want it in any official stats so they can “adjust the numbers”). You may look at a college and check out the campus crime stats and think you are sending your child somewhere safe when in fact it isn’t near as safe as the numbers showed.
This is a problem that seems to get worse over time and I am not sure of what can be done to fix this other than changing the mindset of incoming students.
Most kids get to college and get that sense of freedom and all of the warnings from the parents go out the window. We need to make these kids understand that in the end their personal safety is in their own hands when it comes to their time in college and beyond for that matter.
There needs to be more safety awareness in college and it has to be implemented by the students themselves. We can’t make them do want they want, though it would make life easier for everyone
We need to convince our kids to take the steps necessary to keep themselves safe by forming something similar to neighborhood watches and they need to keep track of crime stats themselves and not allow colleges to sweep this stuff under the rug.
If you could actually get the student body organized and behind this, crime rates would plummet. Much of the crime is committed by other students but if their peers are watching and reporting crimes on a regular basis it should limit this type of behavior.
We need to take matters into our own hands and start this thing off. Talk to your kids, make sure they take this seriously and there is a lot of info on this site that can help. In the next week or so I will be adding a 5 day email self defense course and when time allows I will also get that in video form.
Besides the kids, college administration needs to know that you are on to them and are keeping a close eye on things. Demand action from them you’re paying tens of thousands of dollars to get your kids a good education and you want the schools to step up.
Call and/or write legislators in your area to get involved in reforming the way crime is handled on campuses. Bring up the EMU case, this college told their students a woman died of natural causes when in fact she was murdered and they appear to have known it! How much of an unnecessary risk was added to the students at EMU by not knowing one of their fellow students was murdered in her dorm room.
Hold them accountable! Hold your kids accountable as well for their own safety. If you have to pester them everyday then so be it, whatever it takes!
For those out there thinking I am overreacting, here is the independent report about how EMU handled this case http://www.emich.edu/regents/Butzel_Long_investigation/BL_report.pdf. Read it and then tell me I am wrong or overreacting. This isn’t an isolated incident, they just happened to have gotten caught, more needs to be done to ensure that if any college tries to cover up campus crimes for any reason they will be held accountable. The Clery Act was enacted to try and avoid these type of events but obviously it isn’t enough!