The past few weeks have been marred by a spate of tragic incidents, which have led both campus newspapers to raise concerns that campus simply isn’t safe. The accidental death of a much-loved student, a violent sexual assault and a hate attack have made our community seem extremely vulnerable.
First of all, I’d like to send out my sincerest condolences to anyone affected by these incidents. These are not things that just happen sometimes, they are some of the most saddening things that can happen.
That said they do raise serious concerns that we don’t live in a safe campus bubble, but a harsh reality hangs over our University and the surrounding grounds. These are problems we cannot prevent.
But I’ve no desire to launch into this lecture; you all know what I’m going to say. Avoid Retreat Lane at night, be careful when travelling around and stay away from under lit routes. Make use of the taxi fund, and the minibus services that are there for you. These are all paternalistic comments, which have no place when addressing the intelligent.
What I think needs to be said is that our campus has the potential to be extremely safe thanks to the efforts of a host of people, who are more often than not a target of abuse in this paper.
Take our Students’ Union. They certainly are a controversial bunch, enjoying the thankless task of gagging the media that surrounds them. Attempting to introduce draconian and centralising policies, which hit at the independence of JCRs and Societies. And in some ways they are wrapped up in their own politics, and like to indulge in the pettiest of squabbles. Fair comment.
However, they are also York students who cared enough about the people that make up this University to run for their positions. Our SU Welfare Officer, like his predecessors, has worked to provide us with a host of protections. We have access to a range of helpful services, we have representatives who are prepared to spend weeks of their lives making sure that our routes home are well lit and who battle it out with the University, the local authorities, or the police to make sure our concerns are addressed.
These are a group of people, who despite the bitterness and the constant fighting to maintain the independence of our paper, I still have a lot of respect for.
Because campus isn’t riddled with violent crime. These things don’t happen all the time and these guys are here to help us. Looks like I’ll have to bite the bullet on this one and say thank-you guys, I appreciate your work.