A year after helicopters swirled in the air over the quad and CNN interrupted its national coverage to show the world a hostage situation on our campus, not much has changed in the way of security. Academic buildings are wide open nearly all of the time. Gates may close but pedestrians easily can enter by simply walking around the gates. Any driver can gain access to the campus up until eleven at night. After the gates tighten access is limited only by flashing a red card-presumably a Fairfield ID.

After some troubling thefts the best solution the University had was to install more cameras.

The fact is, Fairfield is just as vulnerable today as it was when Patrick Arbelo a year ago caused the entire campus to hold its breath. Cameras alone are not the solution. We are an open campus in a nation supposedly on “high” terror alert. To think that 5,000 people or more in the heart of one of the richest communities in America couldn’t be considered a “soft” target is ridiculous. They may be watching us, but are they really doing anything?

Unless university officials realize both the tense national environment in which we exist and the vulnerable position students in an “open campus” are in, nothing substantial to improve our safety will be done. It is not electronic eyes that make us safer. It is human eyes and bodies in touch with both a jaded student population and a world of expanding threats that can create more security. Students are tired of being written up constantly for parking violations while reading an increasingly dismal Campus Crime Beat every week.

One year ago yesterday, the world saw Fairfield as a quiet, suburban university shocked by the terror of a tragic hostage situation. With recent thefts and several break-ins in the townhouses over winter break, students are left to wonder just how effective any heightened awareness caused by the hostage situation really is.

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