Campus Security: Will fears hurt Trinity's relationship with Hartford?
Hartford Courant Editorial
January 31, 2012
People who live in the southern part of Hartford have known for a long time what some of the country is just finding out — it's great to live near a college campus. For many years, Hartfordites have enjoyed access to Trinity College to play on the fields, watch movies or sports events, or take classes.
Let us hope it can continue.
The Trinity campus endured a spike in crime this academic year that has the place on edge. The crimes have mostly been smash-and-grab car break-ins, but four robberies also were reported, including one of a female student in mid-afternoon in the fall. Students and parents have called for action, and the administration is responding.
The school is hiring five more campus security officers, improving lighting and intensely studying further measures. Several members of the Trinity community have expressed concern that the campus will become a gated community. A letter sent Jan. 25 to students and parents by President James F. Jones Jr. and Dean of Students Frederick Alford strongly suggests that is not the case.
"We have no intention of withdrawing our welcome to the local community to enjoy the benefits we extend to them, but we need to do more to discourage criminal activity that undermines safety and creates resentment and fear instead of appreciation for the assets of Hartford," the two officials wrote.
They then assured the city, "We have no intention of separating ourselves from Hartford and diminishing the mutually beneficial relationship we have with our neighborhood and the city."
School officials are visiting other campuses and consulting with experts. Changes may involve additional fencing, landscaping, cameras, redesigning parking areas and possibly a nighttime curfew for unaccompanied visitors.
This is a dilemma, for Trinity and many urban universities. To completely secure the campus would be a logistical nightmare, probably wouldn't work and would send a terrible message to the city. At the same time, the school cannot thrive if people are afraid.
Mr. Jones gets this. We hope he can thread the needle with no damage to the relationship with the city that Trinity has nurtured in recent decades with student volunteerism and such projects as The Learning Corridor. We'd also like to see police catch the young knuckleheads who are causing the problem.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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