By Vivien Li, Staff Writer
During the month of September, the University of Redlands sent several emails regarding incidents in which student safety was put into question. These ranged from coyote sightings on campus to armed robberies where UoR students were held at gunpoint. Each time one of these cases occur, the university sends out a mass email to all students and staff as part of the emergency alert system. These emails are meant to create awareness about what is going on in the area both on and off campus, and also raises concerns as to whether or not our surrounding area is safe.
According to the Bulldog Be Safe emails, in the “early morning hours” of September 18th, a non-University person was driving under the influence when he struck a total of twelve cars, six of which belonged to UoR students. The incident took place in and around the Brockton Student Apartments. Some cars were totaled, and others sustained minor damages, although no one was injured.
That same night, another email stated that “two Redlands students were struck by BB-gun pellets fired from unknown suspects in a nearby car.” Redlands Police Department was notified, although the culprits still remain unknown. This took place at an off-campus house, which raised even more discussion regarding whether or not UoR party policies are keeping students safe.
Issues at off-campus parties have been a recurring problem this year as well, with another email being sent out in early September regarding spiking of alcoholic drinks. The most recent Bulldog Be Safe email was sent on September 30th. This outlined all the safety measures the university was taking to ensure that students would be safe the upcoming weekend. Despite these measures, some students are still concerned and shaken up by the recent increase in crime.
“All my years at Redlands, I’ve felt safe to be living in this Redlands bubble. This year, my senior year, my love of Redlands has been taken away from me,” student Leslie Bauska ‘17 admits. Bauska was one of the victims of the BB-gun drive-by shooting. While she was in a state of shock after it happened and did not receive medical attention, she did end up having to get the pellet surgically removed from her chin a few days after the incident.
“I think the email misrepresented my actions,” Bauska admitted. “It’s three in the morning and I’m in shock. I didn’t know what to do, so don’t put the blame on me for not seeking medical attention.” Bauska does think that PSAFE did all that they could, however. She recognizes the fact that no one can do much about a drive-by shooting.
Marc Taylor, Assistant Chief of Public Safety, has noted that while these instances have been taking place, they are still considered rare on our campus. “The weekend after the robbery, the University hired two Redlands Police officers on both Friday and Saturday night for a dedicated, increased presence,” he added.
RPD has been in contact with the victims of both the shooting and the robbery, and Officer Taylor ensures that, “Public Safety has facilitated these contacts and has reached out to the victims to make sure they know who to contact.” He says that the Bulldog Be Safe emails are a means of quickly and efficiently communicating information related to the wellbeing of our students.
When it comes to taking preventative measures, Bauska feels that there have been several incidents where students are put in danger at off campus parties. To her, off-campus parties are more unsafe than the on-campus parties that were banned just a few years ago. “Walking in big groups or by yourself will not be a life changer when you’re held at gunpoint. I wish our campus was closed, but I can’t do anything to fix that situation.”