The editorial board of The Brandeis Hoot would like to express our sincerest condolences to the members of the Brandeis community who were hurt in the off-campus attack two weeks ago. It is a terrifying and sad event that should have never occurred, yet we are grateful that everyone is alive and in recovery.
We would like to thank the Waltham Police Department and the Brandeis Police for keeping the community informed and protected in the face of the threat. We also acknowledge the work of the administration in sharing announcements about increased safety measures and promoting resources on campus for students who would like additional support in the wake of the attack.
It is an unfortunate reality that violence occurs, and as much as students may talk about the “Brandeis bubble” as a small community within an insulated campus, we are on the edge of a busy town in an even busier area of Massachusetts, and there are constant risks to safety. We neither think that students should feel unsafe nor are we trying to scare anyone. We simply want to remind students that even if the campus feels like a separate world, it is easily breached by the outside.
Compared to other schools, Brandeis has a relatively open campus with minimal security measures. There are no gated areas, and anyone can enter most academic buildings and student centers during the week. Some buildings, such as residence halls and the science center, require card-swipe entry, but these card readers on the exterior of the buildings are the extent of the buildings’ securities. In reality, it would be very easy for someone to tailgate and follow a student into a residence hall. Students also prop open doors to residence halls for convenience’s sake, making it easy for non-Brandeis students to enter.
The administration has announced that it will be implementing greater safety measures, such as a night lieutenant and an additional daytime public safety officer as well as new and upgraded security cameras.
The unease that many members of the community are now feeling could be perpetuated by these new security measures, reinforcing the notion that students, faculty and staff need to be scared. Reinforcing the walls that separate Brandeis from the rest of the community will not make us safe from the world but less prepared for it. We should not be dependent solely on the administration’s security measures and Brandeis Police to keep us safe. These new security measures will not be effective on the Brandeis campus if the students do not work to maintain their own safety. We should take part in our own protection by walking in groups at night, making sure the residence hall exit doors remain locked and not allowing strangers to enter buildings behind us. In addition, Public Safety recommends the following safety measures, as listed in the Clery report: do not lend your key to others, lock doors, do not advertise personal information, report broken windows and do not take showers late at night.
Allowing others to protect us without being proactive about our own safety creates a bubble that cannot be popped, and an inability to protect ourselves after we leave campus.
While Loop Road circles our campus, it also connects Brandeis to South Street and the Greater Boston Area. We need to accept the reality that Waltham and the rest of the world are not as guarded as Brandeis, and that Brandeis itself is not as insulated as we think it is. We are not untouchable or invincible, on or off campus.
Editor’s note: Senior News Editor Celia Young was not involved in the writing of this editorial.