Safety is a feeling that is essential while living on a college campus. For many, it is a large factor in deciding on a college to attend. Today, it can be challenging to find a lasting feeling of safety. This uneasy feeling has made me look deeper at the safety protocols here at Fairfield.  

My dorm is where I feel the safest. I have always felt a strong sense of security in my dorm rooms throughout the years, due to having keypads with specialized codes. All buildings and dorms lock after 11:00 p.m., which helps create a sense of security. The RAs do an amazing job of patrolling and creating a safe environment for all. However, this feeling of safety does not carry over onto other places on campus, as campus wide security is not as strong as dorm security. 

Whilst driving into campus, I am rarely asked to scan my Stag Card, showing me that many people enter and exit campus undocumented. It is somewhat frightening that pretty much anyone can come onto our campus whenever they feel like it. Junior Kate Enriquez proclaims “I feel as if with recent events in our world, it is important for students to feel safe and protected at our schools. I think that a simple checking of your Stag Card isn’t too hard of a task for a little bit more protection and safety.” 

In March of 2023, catalytic converters were being stolen around the town of Fairfield and on campus. On Mar. 7 2023, Fairfield University put out a statement, “a suspect vehicle has been identified and the Fairfield Police Department is investigating the theft. As a deterrent, the Townhouse gate on North Benson Road, and the Jogues gate on Round Hill Road, will temporarily be closed. Please use other campus gates for ingress and egress.” For many students, this was an unsettling period. There was much uncertainty in not knowing if student’s cars were safe on campus.  

Moments like these make me frustrated knowing that we have multiple gates with guards who are supposed to check and scan Stag Cards. Our Stag cards are meant to be scanned, and our campus security should do a better job of protecting our gates. I have noticed on multiple occasions that there is no office or gate attendant at the Barlow gate. I find this somewhat troubling as that is a popular gate. I also see people who attend Fairfield walking in and out of campus on foot constantly. I visited Harvard in the summer, and they consistently asked me to show my student ID, and when I didn’t have one, they checked my other IDs and asked me what the purpose of my visit was. This may be annoying to some people, however, even as a guest I felt safe because I knew security was keeping an eye on people entering and exiting the premises.  

Even though Stag cards are checked by DPS at the main gate in the evening, the assumption that a danger to the campus is only posed after a certain hour is irresponsible.  

Department of Public Safety (DPS) Officers can and should do a better job of keeping our campus safe, and that starts at Fairfield’s entrances and exits. Given student concerns and the state of our nation, there is no question that campus safety cannot be overlooked and should be a conversation with not only DPS, but our administration and students as well. 

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