The recent attacks in Paris raised security concerns all around the world. From the United States to Great Britain, countries are beefing up their counter-terrorist measures. However, I think it is also important that universities such as NYU take the necessary precautions to ensure safety for members in the community. In April, 147 people were found dead after the Somalia-based extremist group Al-Shabaab struck Garissa University College. NYU and other universities need to implement extra steps to prevent a future massacre like the one in Kenya. Here are a few recommendations on what can be done on campus.
Firstly, research needs to be conducted on the trends in behavior among students who have executed mass shootings before. Currently, there is a federal ban on gun violence research and NYU needs to work with other peer institutions in getting the ban lifted. This ban does not help the public, especially universities who can conduct case studies on the best ways of ensuring campus safety. For example, an in depth-analysis of Columbine or even Virginia Tech could unleash key and vital information that we are not aware of. Once that is done, follow-up steps should be taken like establishing anonymous online peer-to-peer counseling. These measures should be secretly monitored or at least have a follow-up component to them.
Secondly, there is also a dire need for the university to promote a mandatory week of religious diversity training during the school year. This should be done effortlessly and woven easily into student’s schedules, as part of their registration requirement. Students should be able to sign up for in-person events whereby they are informed about diversity and tolerance. Doing so would reduce the likelihood of people on the verge feeling like they are marginalized in terms of their religion. In some cases, these individuals might even be a perception that the community in which they are a part of does not value their religion. Setting a week aside for celebrating religious diversity is a step in the right direction. It encourages tolerance and integration among members of the community.
Thirdly, there needs to be more cameras at NYU. More cameras does not mean that student privacy is infringed upon. In fact, it promotes transparency across the board since activities can be monitored. Moreover, considering the fact that our buildings are scattered around the city, we should be able to strictly monitor real-time movement anytime. More cameras, especially at the Washington Square Campus, sends a clear message. It informs the public that NYU is a safe haven, and the safety of students, staff and faculty is of utmost concern. In addition to this, having more cameras on campuses, enables campus safety/police to flag troublesome behavior.
It is time for universities across the country — and the world — beef up their campus anti-terrorist measures. The safety of students and staff should be of utmost priority to institutions. Colleges need to identify what there is a lack there of, and how it can be addressed. Doing so enables each institution to create safety measures safeguarding their respective campuses.
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Email Tegan Joseph Mosugu at [email protected]