By Sasha Zuflacht
Union College is in the heart of Schenectady, NY. For most, the campus and prestige of Union, rather than the location, draw people to the school.
However, as part of the Capital Region, Schenectady has a lot to offer. With the decision to come to Union, one must accept the fact that Schenectady is not in the ideal spot.
The main issue with Schenectady is the security, and the frequent worry that a “doid” will overstay their welcome on campus.When potential students and their parents have questions about safety and security, there is a generic response that most people use. As a tour guide, we emphasize the escort service, the trolley system and the simple response to just be smart.
While these are legitimate ways of ensuring safety, it’s not enough. I have been to several other schools in remote and secure locations, and there are blue lights all around their campuses. At Union, there are only a few on campus, and they are not in areas where security is most needed.
The walk to upper campus is in the most need of security. During the daytime, this walk is fine and not too intimidating. However, the issues arise when girls come home late at night and they have no one to walk with.
There’s also a concern of leaving your computer in the library, even if one needs to walk away for a moment, for fear that it will be stolen.
Students also are faced with the added stress of how to safely get to an off-campus house. Granted, having a car makes these things easier, but driving and parking often become a hassle of their own.
While the above comments are always loosely discussed on campus, there is no initiative to make a change. While we are told that Union College is an open campus in order to build our relationship with the residents of Schenectady, it is a serious concern that anyone can walk in. While most students agree that we should be a welcoming community, things still need to change. Students should feel comfortable on campus and safe in this environment.
One of the easier solutions is to install more blue lights around campus, most importantly on the outskirts. While students should be smart and conscientious about where they are going and who they are with, we must feel safe.
Additionally, campus security needs to have a more powerful presence. Sometimes, I’ll walk by an empty campo car, expecting someone to be monitoring the area, but then no one is actually in the vehicle or nearby. What’s the point in that?
Security will continue to be an issue on this campus until there is a drastic change. Again, the efforts of campus security do not go without recognition. Though campus safety makes a considerable difference on this campus, it is not enough.
There are probably initiatives and plans currently being discussed, but it is not public knowledge to the students. Issues of security and safety need to be a forefront concern for the entire Union College community.