Campus crime wave

By: Russ Friend

We’re living in an age in which our campus has become a victim buffet for criminals. Campus police have been ineffective in stopping the lawlessness, while the University has been slow to respond.

Slow is an understatement. If they moved any slower, weeds would be growing out of their assets. How many crimes must be committed before University officials will do anything other than vote to raise student tuition and their own salaries? There was a time when a university was a place of higher learning; where students craving knowledge were sated by a wealth of wisdom. Where has that wisdom gone?

The only thing students are learning now is fear. How many robberies will it take until everyone realizes that the police are unable to deal with the current crisis? Does a student need to get shot or stabbed before the University realizes that it must protect its most cherished commodity and the source of its revenue?

Without students, there would be no University. Without safety, University students will go elsewhere for an education. We the students demand action and accountability from The University of Akron.

This entire situation is an embarrassment to students and alumni. When University officials receive raises for a record of ineffective leadership, what type of signal does that relay to the students?

We look at Washington’s politics with disdain. It’s a well-known fact that they’re running a circus called incompetence while we’re forced aboard the recession train. Washington has proven its inability to lead. We’re not supposed to embrace reprehensible behavior, yet I see no other explanation for the bungling that is our University’s handling of this abhorrent situation.

Perhaps it will take a lawsuit from a student who’s been shot or stabbed because he dared to walk around campus at night. The University knows there’s a problem, yet has done little to quell our campus fear, and therefore could be considered culpable for not preventing a tragedy that they should have known was an inevitability given our current climate of criminal activity.

I know that if I were robbed at gunpoint I wouldn’t be too keen on continuing my education at this fine establishment. When the drop in enrollment occurs, I don’t expect anyone from the University to take any responsibility. I expect more of the same: rhetoric and ineffective leadership, with a highlight on the blame game.

Students are in peril and the University must step forward to protect them; lip service and emails don’t appear to be much of a deterrent. Perhaps Zippy should wear a Barney costume and sing about how much he loves us and wants to be our friend. Maybe that could sway the criminals from perpetrating further acts of terror against unprotected students? It’s bound to be more effective than anything our president has put forth so far.

A lot of universities have hired private security firms to patrol their campuses. This ensures the safety of their students. We have a crime wave, with rogue bands of criminals terrorizing students and all we’re getting are emails. The campus is sliding toward a lawless community where fear reigns supreme. Campus police are doing what they can while University officials turn a blind eye toward student safety.

Part of the problem is Akron’s mayor, Don Plusquellic. Plusquellic has decimated the police department, reducing the number of officers in the field by almost 20 percent. Over 90 fine officers have lost their job in the past 16 months. It is no accident that the University is currently experiencing a crime wave.  The mayor, like our fine University, has put an emphasis on profits over protection.

The mayor recently stated that the number of reported crimes has dropped significantly in the past year. Unfortunately, what the mayor failed to mention is that the almost 20 percent cut in officers is the main reason for this drop in reported crimes. There simply aren’t enough officers in the field to file the reports. Our campus police are doing what they can, but with such a significant hit to the force, there’s only so much they can do.

I have friends who work with various police departments. Some are police officers. They have stressful jobs, yet every day they stand up and do their best to serve and protect their communities to the best of their abilities. Our problems aren’t their fault. When the number of active duty officers is reduced by almost 20 percent, situations like this are bound to occur.

Up until now we’ve been lucky that there have been no serious injuries, but it’s just a question of time. It’s time to pull our collective heads out of the sand and find a viable solution before it’s too late. We need security. We need a safe campus.

At this point, allowing students to protect themselves by carrying guns on campus would be a more effective solution than anything offered by the university, and that’s not a solution. Our campus is one incident away from becoming a national news headline.