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Stranger Than Fiction

 

Photo Credit: Bobby Jones

One of the most pressing student concerns on this campus has to do with safety. This isn’t safety in the way students at more traditional schools talk about their personal wellbeing. While conversations around alcohol abuse and sexual assault dominate the conversations of these other schools—although these concerns do exist and merit attention on this campus as well—students of CU Denver tend to discuss a feeling of uneasiness walking around campus at night.

My loyal readership will, of course, remember that I too have experienced a late-night threat on this campus. As I walked home from an on campus light rail station, I was chased by a man who was bearing a syringe as a dagger. I was pursued all the way to Campus Village only to have to walk back outside to class through the campus I was threatened on hours earlier.

This assault was one case in many, many cases reported to Auraria Police Department Over the course of January, there were 38 separate cases filed by the department. Eight of these referred to theft explicitly. Two D.U.I’s made an appearance. Public fighting is seen once. The horrifically named “Unlawful Sexual Contact (Fondling), Interference, Disturbing the Peace, Trespass, & Unlawful Acts on Campus” also shows itself in January.

These crimes are in no way, shape, or form “traditional” for college campuses. These didn’t happen because of frat parties or walks of shame; on the contrary, they came from the community surrounding us. An urban environment consuming our campus doesn’t help offer the vacuum of academia that produces the collegiate cultures of Boulder or Palo Alto; but, their (the traditional schools, that is) questions of safety and wellbeing has evolved  to a national discussion. Why hasn’t our voice also been considered in these debates?

The concerns being raised on this campus have the ability to save people less fortunate than myself. Ultimately, Auraria PD and the three universities on campus broadly need to explore options that can assist students facing crises like my own; otherwise, we can expect another Matt Kriese-like character to face a syringe-induced end here in the near future.

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