What were you doing around 1 a.m. Saturday? Did you know a stabbing had just occurred? If you weren’t on campus, chances are you probably didn’t. Oh wait; even if you were on campus, chances are you didn’t either.
Those who did hear about the stabbing heard through word of mouth. No public safety officer patrolled the halls of the dorms, no RA knocked on anyone’s door to make sure everyone knew. But how could the RAs knock on doors to inform their residents when they themselves were left in the dark?
Whether you felt safe or not, the truth is that your safety was neglected. Part of being safe is knowing what harm is out there and taking the appropriate precautions. For the most part, students had no idea a stabbing had taken place until they woke up Saturday morning and read the email they received, sent earlier that morning at 5:28 a.m. An email, however, that was not received by the entire college community.
5:28 a.m. Five hours after the stabbing had occurred and the stabber’s whereabouts were still unknown. Isn’t a lockdown supposed to keep individuals secluded from the outside, safe and sound until the suspect is found?
What is it going to take to get public safety to come up with a real crisis plan, considering the plan has not been updated since 2003, which was two years before the first stabbing occurred.
Even though students were uninformed, credit does have to be given to public safety as far as the victim’s safety was concerned. His safety was their first priority, and because of it, he got the care he needed and is now thankfully in stable condition.
Unfortunately, the job of public safety is also to look out for the safety of the campus as a whole and there was, for hours until the suspect turned himself in, someone loose on campus with a knife who could have potentially harmed more students. The campus was on lockdown, but to what extent was it enforced? Students were able to roam from building to building with no warning of what had just happened.
Another job of public safety is to keep the entire student body safe when a situation like this occurs. When a cab full of Cabrini women pulled up to the entrance to be dropped off after a night off campus, public safety should have escorted them to their rooms. They knew what the suspect looked like, and it sure wasn’t a female.
Instead, they handed them “safety blankets” which in reality were yellow tarps, and told them to sleep out on the pavement because they didn’t have a car to go somewhere else. Other cars who were not permitted back onto campus were told to go “sit in WaWa’s parking lot.”
Did the lockdown go into effect immediately? No one will know. What we do know is that an editor was allowed on campus after four police cars had already arrived, meaning the police had already been notified and had already driven to campus, yet no lockdown was in effect.
While public safety can’t change the way they reacted to the incident and the incident itself can not be taken back, it is unfortunate that what the Cabrini community is left with is a tarnished reputation.
How do we tell people that Cabrini is still a safe place? That the recent incidents do not change the value of a Cabrini education or are a reflection of the average Cabrini student?
This incident, that is similar in nature to the one that occurred two years ago, proves that heightened security such as signing visitors into buildings at 8 p.m. and the Welcome Center do not prevent violence. What public safety should focus their efforts on is an effective crisis management plan so that when acts like this, that are not unique to Cabrini occur, all student safety needs are met.