Posted: October 17th, 2013
Safety is the Right of Every Individual
Being safe from external aggression is a fundamental right to every living human being. This right is enshrined in some of the most powerful global legislation like the universal bill of rights. The duty to provide safety lies with the individual and other organizations like the state, local authorities and learning institutions (Louis 20-35). Everybody has a duty of ensuring their safety wherever they go, however, individual responsibility can only go so far. The broader concept about security is bestowed upon the other bodies. Bodies like the government and universities have a broader mandate to guarantee the security of their members. The university should bear additional accountability in protecting its students because it is socially obliged and because the learners are a university’s main concern.
The safety of USF students or any other student for that matter is paramount. It ought to be a top priority for the learning institution as a daily routine. Students are particularly vulnerable to crime, and it is imperative that learning institutions take elaborate measures to ensure students are safe both inside and outside school. For instance, in the case of USF, the university transport system that has been tasked with shuttling students inside and outside the university starts its services at 7 am and runs until 12 am. Unfortunately, some of the hardworking students extend their stay past midnight. These learners are left with no alternative other than to walk home. Walking home in the wee hours is dangerous, particularly to men, as the possibility of falling victim to crime is exceptionally high (Criss & Pamela 14-18). Statistics show that men are more likely to fall victim to violent crimes than women are (Victims and Victimization).
To paraphrase the importance of enhancing safety for students, it would be crucial to analyze the current university security policy and the surrounding environment. The security personnel are only stationed at the university main compound. According to media reports, the area around USF has recorded astronomical figures in reported criminal activity. The economic status of most of the student does not help the situation. Some of the learners cannot afford cars while the ones who own cars find the parking fees to be exorbitant. Commuting to and from the school by taxi is a nightmare for those who live far because of the high fares. These challenges have forced the students to find residences near the campus.
The university has a social responsibility to guarantee safety of its students so that they can undertake their studies without worrying about their safety (Bettinghaus & Erwin 36-39). In light of this issue, I can propose a number of security measures that can be adopted by the student body and the university management. The university’s transport service can be extended to a twenty-four hour service. Such a move will ensure all students reach their destination safely and at all times. It is true that such a service will come at an extra cost. Therefore, learners should be ready and willing to chip-in with contributions to meet the added cost of service.
Institutions should also guarantee the safety of learners who have left their parents’ homes to reside closer to the university. The university assumes the role of looking after the welfare of the students until they get back to their parents. Therefore, USF should lobby the national government and the local authority to increase security personnel and patrols in the entire area where learners reside. Increasing the number of security personnel in such areas would significantly decrease the likelihood of learners falling victim to crime.
Some pundits may argue that it is not the prerogative of the university to offer security to students especially when they are out of the university compound. They may argue that the university bears that responsibility only when the student is within the university premises (Criss & Pamela 14-18). It would be neglectful of the USF to have such an attitude. As I mentioned earlier, the university has a social responsibility to the community and its customers. The customers happen to be its students. Moreover, in order to protect its reputation, the university will do itself a veritable favor by ensuring its members are safe. Another argument against such an obligation would be based on cost of providing the service. Making the transport service run for twenty-four hours would not necessarily come at a cost as the service is only absent for seven hours. Besides, the university can convince the student to bear the extra cost of providing the transport service.
The Bull Runner (USF’s campus shuttling service) currently operates between 7:00 am and 12:00 pm between Monday and Thursday. On Friday, the hours are shorter with the services ending at 5:30 P.M. The weekend service only lasts for five hours (between 2:30 P.M. and 5:30 P.M.) and there is no service on public holidays. The weekday service should be extended to twenty-four hours between Monday and Thursday with the Friday service being extended to midnight. The service can charge extra for the later hours in order to recover the cost of service. Extending these hours will make sure that these shuttle services are available for all students, including those who study very late and those who have avid social lives.
If the university opts to lobby for increased security from the national government or local authority, there will be no extra cost that the university will incur as such cost will be borne by the relevant organ. There are numerous advantages of having a secure environment. The academic performance of the students will improve tremendously. The student will be able to excel in their studies and possibly come up with excellent inventions. The staff will also be able to work well, and their output will increase. The community around the university will also enjoy the benefits of enhanced security measures.
Another solution for the issue of campus security could be to introduce an application that tracks student movement. The application could be developed by students and data can be hosted in the server, in the university police department. When a user installs the application on their phone, they can allow a computer to track their movement and create a log that details the location visited and times of arrival and departure. When a user signs into the app, they are prompted to enter their current location and their final destination. A computer in the university police department then tracks the user and makes sure that they get to their destination safely. The app can also be used to send alerts that warn users of any threats to security.
A good and secure environment can be used as a marketing tool for the university. It has the potential to attract more and more clients as the current students act as ambassadors of the university (Stiff & James 45-52). When they enjoy a secure college environment, they will disseminate that information to their peers at home and encourage them to join their university. Benefits of security will trickle down even to the local residents and business community, as many investors will be willing to open up venture in the region. Statistics released in 2010 showed that USF has a high rate of burglaries and car thefts (over three years 403 burglaries and 101 car thefts were recorded) (Merrefield and Streib). The campus ranked 127 out of 450 in security, showing that there is a lot of room for improvement.
The duty to provide safety lies with the individual and other bodies such as the state, local authorities and learning institution. In this respect, both the individual and other bodies have a role to play in order to realize security as a right to all. The learners need to take responsibility for their safety such as ensuring they do not walk alone late at night, or engage in activities that might jeopardize their safety. There should be a concerted effort by the entire student fraternity aimed at encouraging the university to enhance student safety. USF has the greatest responsibility of ensuring its students are safe. Only marginal effort is required of the university in enhancing the current security policy in relation to the student body. The university is only called upon to make the current transport service a twenty-four hours service, as this will ensure those students who leave the university premises very late at night reach their destination safe and secure. The university can also use its influence and convince the national government as well as the local authority to increase the number of security personnel and patrols.
Bettinghaus, Erwin P. Persuasive Communication. New York, N.Y: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980. Print.
Criss, Pamela M. Prevalence of Client Violence against Social Work Students and Its Effects on Fear of Future Violence, Occupational Commitment, and Career Withdrawal Intentions. Tampa, Fla: University of South Florida, 2009. Web. 2 May 2013 <http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2915&context=etd&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.ke%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3DPrevalence%2Bof%2BClient%2BViolence%2Bagainst%2BSocial%2BWork%2BStudents%2Band%2BIts%2BEffects%2Bon%2BFear%2Bof%2BFuture%2BViolence%2C%2BOccupational%2BCommitment%2C%2Band%2BCareer%2BWithdrawal%2BIntentions%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D2%26ved%3D0CDcQFjAB%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fscholarcommons.usf.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D2915%2526context%253Detd%26ei%3DrEaCUcTiAZSihgeiwoDYAQ%26usg%3DAFQjCNGBBhKixt-oP5Yy68sPOpieuOhxqg%26bvm%3Dbv.45921128%2Cd.ZG4#search=%22Prevalence%20Client%20Violence%20against%20Social%20Work%20Students%20Its%20Effects%20Fear%20Future%20Violence%2C%20Occupational%20Commitment%2C%20Career%20Withdrawal%20Intentions%22>
Louis, E H. “Administrative Law and Governmentality: Politics and Discretion in a Changing State of Sovereignty.” Administrative Theory & amp; Praxis. 24.1 (2002): 55-80. Print.
Stiff, James B. Persuasive Communication. New York: Guilford Press, 1994. Print.
“Victims and Victimization.” National Institute of Justice. 20 September 2010. Web. 02 May 2013 <http://www.nij.gov/topics/victims-victimization/welcome.htm>
Merrefield, Clarke and Steib, Lauren. The Daily Beast College Safety Rankings. TheDailyBeast.com. 13 Sep 2010, Web. 2 May 2013 <http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/09/14/most-dangerous-college-campuses-ranked.html>
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