College students’ safety in question


This graphic shows the number of crimes reported from various campuses. The Clery Act requires universities to “disclose crime stats for incidents that occur on campus.” Photo courtesy of the Philly Voice.

Emma Regal, Copy Editor

After yet another brutal mass shooting on Thursday in Umpqua City, Oregon, President Obama grievingly and angrily told the press, “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. [I]t does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America — next week, or a couple months from now.” President Obama pushed for a change in gun laws when he spoke with reporters.

26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer took the lives of ten people and injured seven at Umpqua Community College before he turned the gun on himself, taking his own life. Among the survivors, 19-year-old student J.J. recounts to his sister, Autumn Vicari, the gruesome events leading up to the deaths of his classmates. Vicari said her brother managed to escape but watched as three people were later killed in another room, and is “struggling to deal with what he has witnessed.”

According to, since 1990, over 250 students have been killed in 143 school shootings in the United States. At Joliet West, security takes the safety of students very seriously and conducts bag checks, student checks, and even brings in the police department to ensure the safety of the school. With an enrollment of 3,200 students, West has a fraction of the population many colleges have. “Once I got to college, I noticed right away that the security was a lot less heavy than it was at West and that surprised me considering there were many more people,” said Emily Bohanek, a graduate of Joliet West. Colleges have very flexible class schedules, and the day-to-day population of students changes with indivuals’ schedules. Realistically, security cannot keep up with every student, and this poses a large question of safety that has been emphasized more and more with every incident.

Overall, the safety of college students has been in question for quite some time, and shootings like those in Umpqua further validate the fear college and soon-to-be college students feel. Considering that colleges, unlike high schools, are open to people from all over the country, this vast population should encourage an increase in security that is not being seen.