Last week, University of Minnesota students wrote a petition addressed to President Eric Kaler and both the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis police departments, requesting a greater police presence on campus in light of recent crimes occurring near campus.
We support the intentions of this petition in its effort to get students involved in safety issues on campus, as well as its call on the administration to actively work to reduce crime in the area.
Kaler sent an email to students Nov. 12 stating his request to University police Chief Greg Hestness and Vice President for University Services Pam Wheelock to “expand coordinated patrol efforts around campus” as well as to enhance the Gopher Chauffeur escort program. Emails from Hestness and Kaler updating students on the status of security meetings present a good-faith effort by the administration and police to keep students as informed as possible.
While we agree with the intentions of the petition’s authors, we are saddened by some of the language in the petition, which suggests that students should purposely discourage area high school students from attending the University. The petition states, “As graduates of Minnesota public school systems that send dozens of high school graduates to the University of Minnesota each year, we will go out of our way to reach out to our communities and urge students not to apply here.” This attempt to intimidate potential University students is not beneficial to the security and well-being of our campus and might create more challenges for administrators.
Instead of threatening the University with bad publicity, students should look out for each other and focus on what proactive measures they can take themselves to improve campus security in addition to working with administration and police.