This year’s frosh week at U of T has been very festive and full of all the usual trimmings: bands of engineers painting themselves purple and proclaiming their superiority to Arts & Science students and the infamous line-ups outside the Brunny.
But one event cast a far less glamourous shadow over the campus; two attempted assaults at campus residences. These were not unprecedented acts—last year Whitney Hall was broken into—but they are still extremely serious, and should make staff and students alike reconsider campus safety.
U of T derives a lot of benefits from its downtown location. Unlike many campuses, which are secluded and purposely separated from cities, our university is a major part of the urban landscape. We have a selection of food, entertainment and living accommodations that many students only dream about. So what’s the catch? The problems inherent in big, busy cities do not stop at our campus borders. Crime is a reality in all major metropolises and Toronto is no exception. The nineteen-year-old girl who was attacked in her own residence room this week can testify to that. So if campus crime is a reality, who is taking responsibility for it?
One problem that seems to haunt the issue of responsibility is jurisdiction. Both the campus police and Toronto police are supposed to be watching over the area, but most of the time it feels as though neither of them are.
Safety is a major issue which must be addressed if U of T expects to continue fostering “great minds.” Blotting over the issue is not the answer either; ignorance will only breed carelessness and inevitably more crime. An up-front, informative approach to the attacks is essential.
However shameful it might be to admit that our campus is dangerous, it is more important to inform our student population of the risks they face by attending this institution.
Prevention and reaction are the best weapons against senseless crime.