Dear Montclair State Board Members,
Here is a common picture that occurs often in my late classes: It is 10pm. I pack my things from my long day of classes that involve my book bag, guitar, and purse. As I do so, the rest of the graduates bustle to get out in a hurry to go to their warm houses in the winter’s night to do some paper writing. I take my belongings and walk from Chaplin Hall to make my way to Car Parc Diem, to which this is the only parking space I can afford. As I make my way through the poorly lit University, I notice a figure that has been loitering. This male body has been loitering for quite some time. I take heed and maintain in an alert state. I see a friend walking along the same path and ask him to walk me to my car. This figure leaves.
This is a common occurrence for many women on campus. In fact these common occurrences are never reported due to the fact many young women have the mentality that they may be paranoid or overreacting. This mentality has proved costly. In fact these unreported crimes and suspicious activity has been reviewed in a 2002 CBS news show. But what is even more alarming is this statistic: 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. This statistic is provided by RAINN, an organization against sexual violence. And with the recent reports in the Montclarion of these assaults as well as some emails, I am wondering how much is being done to assure the safety of the student body beyond alerting of sexual assaults.
I am a bit concerned as to why this state institution has not provided adequate education and safety measures to the student body on issues of rape and sexual abuse. I have not received any emails facing this issue head on to the student body, specifically new incoming freshman or new professionals learning how to becoming respectable and educated adults within society. It is often assumed that a place of continuous education and improvement of professional skills would be a safe haven for students to be able to travel around campus. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I believe that it is an irresponsible decision to not take into consideration the recent events at the Board of Trusties meeting and not taking swift action on evaluating the current status of safety procedures and tools. Waiting for a much more severe attack to occur does not do well to Montclair’s reputation and to the well-being of the entire student body who expects to pay for high quality of instruction to extend the potentially great legacy that this University could possibly offer.
Please consider the grievances of the students as well as the possible many unheard voices of the victims of these malicious sexual assaults and rapes. Do not shame them into thinking that there is nothing that they can do. Instead, show them the resources that are their beyond orientation, take action in improving the quality of safety around campus, and embrace the mentality of giving these women and men a voice of a survivor, rather than to victimize them into passive silence.
It is mentioned in Montclair’s mission statement that “The University will ensure that all students develop an understanding of global issues and of their responsibilities as citizens of the world.” Show by example how to be responsible with issues foreign or domestic such as this. Please consider taking the appropriate measures on educating the students on rapes and sexual abuse of all kinds to uphold the high standards that Montclair State University could offer to the current student body and the future incoming students.