Is it really a safe campus?

With the recent headlines about Benedictine University I’m sure some readers out there are wondering, “Is it really a safe campus?”

Yes.

I’m a senior at Benedictine and never have I felt unsafe here on campus. Benedictine University’s Campus Police force is compromised of a great group of people who used to work with state and city police forces, meaning they’ve dealt with their fair share of problems and know just what to do when emergencies arise. Yet they are all so friendly and really make the effort to get to know the students on campus. Not to mention the grants they receive every year allowing for more staff and gadgets to help keep the campus safe. In addition to the 24/7 dispatcher and patrolling officers, emergency phones are located throughout campus if you are ever in need of assistance even for things as minor as car trouble. BenU’s Campus Police also offer escorting services just in case any of the students would feel more comfortable walking with an officer at night instead of alone back to their car or residence.

The BenU Police force isn’t the only group of people trying their best to make it a safe place to live; the Residence Life staff employs 18 RA’s that live in the residence halls to help students with any problems from locking themselves out of their rooms to relationship drama. Each night there is an RA on duty in each of the residence halls and apartments to ensure the safety of the building. They go on rounds throughout the night equipped with a walkie-talkie connected directly to the police dispatcher in case of emergency. An Area Coordinator and Assistant Director also live on campus as another means for assistance; at least one of them is on campus every night.

Recently the University has cracked down on drinking campus. Too many incidents of students exceeding their limits as well other events over the years have led to Dr. William Carroll Benedictine University’s President to issue an alcohol ban. Though it may be unpopular among many of the students, the University has decided it is the only way to take a stand against underage binge drinking and distribution to underage drinkers by fellow residents who are of legal age. Still open to negotiation, many students on campus have stepped up and begun thinking of alternatives to a complete ban that would still ensure the safety and well-being of the students. Dr. Carroll has said that once a more realistic alcohol policy is developed, he is open to amending the current ban. Notice that I did not say “dry campus”, because it isn’t. The ban encompasses all of the residence halls and Founder’s Woods apartments on campus however tail gating and the on campus restaurant the Coal Ben, still allow alcohol.

I believe the school hopes to teach responsibility with this new policy. Campus officials are by no means against having fun and making memories; however, safety is a number one priority. When that “fun” compromises the safety of the students it is in the University’s best interest to protect itself. (Let’s face it, people are a little sue-happy these days!) The numerous incidents over the past few years in addition to the abuse of alcohol that has been occurring on campus has shown those in charge that the students may not be able to, as so many commercials remind us, “drink responsibly”.  In fact one of the major reasons students are arguing against this ban on alcohol is for the presumed increase in drunk driving. Officer Debra Scuito addressed the University’s concern perfectly during a student forum saying that the fact that students are saying that drunk driving is going to increase, that they are almost planning it, shows us that they are indeed not responsible enough to consume, and that this is the right move to ban alcohol.

Yes as someone who is of legal drinking age and living on campus, it is an inconvenience. But if those who are old enough to legally drink want to drink, they have the ability to go off campus to a friend’s apartment or to the Coal Ben. Hopefully these sorts of actions will teach people to be more responsible while they consume. Nevertheless I am confident that it won’t be long before the students have worked together with the faculty to come up with a safe alcohol policy that satisfies all!  There are a ton of people and policies in place at Benedictine University with the goal of making sure this campus is a safe place to live.

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