20 years ago, schools and colleges were seen as safe places where students could go and not face the threat of gunfire. However, that’s all changed. Since Columbine, nearly 200,000 American students have been exposed to gun violence. Schools across the country were left unprepared and underfunded against the wave of mass shootings that would take place for the next two decades.
Concerns have been raised about the security of our campus. In the last year, there have been two major incidents that have brought attention to Bellevue’s gaps in security. First, there was the shooting threat that occurred last spring quarter, and then there was anti-Semitic vandalism that occurred only a quarter ago. From the outside, it looks as if very little has been done to prevent this in the future. Public safety has been in an awkward position for at least the last two years as it searched for a permanent Director of Public Safety. Up until this point, there was only an interim director of public safety and they have been short-staffed for a period of time now.
The dorms at Bellevue College probably have the best security measures of all the buildings on campus. The first two floors are open to the public during regular school hours so students can purchase pizzas and study. All of the other street-level entrances and doors to floor three through five are locked 24/7. What I think is causing the perception that the dorms are unsafe, is how the students end up treating the interior of the building. The students who live in the dorms have torn the whole building apart. Trash is left everywhere, the walls are covered in scuffs and on occasion, the smell of vomit and cheap liquor will fill the hallways. I guarantee that if the residents of the dorms were able to somehow hold students accountable, people would feel a lot safer.
To add insult to injury, the only cameras in the whole building are affixed to the tops of the large vending machines in the pizzeria. It gives off the impression that they care more about Cheetos than common decency.
The rest of the campus is a different story. The main campus is open, which means that anyone can come through. At night, lighting can be spotty, leaving a lot of dark corners. Public safety does patrol regularly. As far as I can tell, there are no cameras on campus, which has facilitated a huge drug market here on campus, which could put a lot of people at risk. The main campus is very unsafe. Hopefully with the new leadership, public safety will do more to protect the student body.
Bellevue College, in my opinion, has a lot of gaps in their security system. They can email the student body as much as they want about security threats on campus, but unless they take more security measures, bigger issues are going to pop up. It would also be great if public safety was transparent about the progress they make on campus so that way students can be aware of their safety.