OPINION: Repeated failures to protect students make AU a dangerous environment



During my first year at American University, I worked on the radio show on WVAU from 1-2 a.m. on Monday nights. After an hour of blasting music in the studio, I took a deep breath and began a short but eerie walk. I walked from the Mary Graydon Center studio to Centennial Hall.

The walk took less than two minutes, but I couldn’t help but feel a little scared as I passed empty buildings on dark sidewalks on my way to my dorm. What gave me solace was the emergency blue light tower.

A year later, I live on East Campus and still DJ at WVAU at night. Now that I’m a sophomore and getting used to campus, I’m not as scared as I used to be, but I still like looking for the tower of blue light when I walk back to my dorm.

About a month ago, I noticed a sign on a tower near my dorm.

The sign read, “Emergency Help Station Out of Order.”

At the bottom, in small letters, it says, “A technician will be repairing this station.”

Technicians have been scheduled to repair the station for almost two months. I didn’t notice it, but other staff members at Eagle were also aware of this phenomenon. As of October 11th, 8 broken blue light towers That is not acceptable on campus. moreover, staff editor You blamed the AU management for the lack of transparency regarding safety, and I completely agree with that.

But my main concern is that the university has proven time and time again that it doesn’t care about its students. Management is ignorant and disgusting.

Let’s take a look at this example. On October 25th, AU President Sylvia Burwell told the community:Anti-Palestinian threat letter at Kerwin Hall.In the email, Burwell urged students who felt they were in danger to “call the AUPD emergency number at 202-885-3636, use the blue light emergency phone on campus, or use the RAVE Guardian app. instructed to use it. Burwell instructed students to use blue lights if they felt threatened, eight of which were not available at the time.

This statement is simply ignorant and shows a lack of connection between Mr. Burwell and the AU, and the administration needs to improve. I’ve been here for just over a year and have already experienced the AU’s below average response to anti-Semitic hate crimes (Thrice), anti-Palestinian threatening letter And that Sexual assault at Leonard Hall.

On November 28th, a student was assaulted Robbery with a gun at the Nebraska Hall shuttle stop. Phil Morse, assistant vice president for university police and emergency management, then said: Email To the students. Although Morse was particularly lacking in words of sympathy for the fearful students, he offered some general safety tips and urged students to “use AU’s shuttle service whenever possible.” I urged him to do so.

It is shocking and incredibly ignorant on the part of the university to recommend this to students. He received a pre-written email with several tips, one of which was to do exactly what the robbed student was doing: wait for the university shuttle. Totally unacceptable.

I’m tired of feeling unsafe and tired of not trusting the people who are paid to protect and defend our communities. This kind of inconsiderate communication after a major security incident has no place on a college campus. This lack of safety on campus is unacceptable and administrators must do better.

Alana Parker is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and Communication and a columnist for The Eagle.

This article was edited by Jerinda Montez, Alexis Bernstein, and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing was by Isabel Kravis and Olivia Citarella.


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