Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Last semester, Spelman College was faced with a shocking story when students and faculty learned that 19-year old Beverly Garrett had committed suicide. On the night of October 24, 2011, the campus flooded with police officers and fire trucks, leaving students in a state of confusion. Some had figured out the source of the commotion while others were left to piece everything together from social networks and through word of mouth. Rumors filled the dorm hallways: “She was shot by a stray bullet.”, “She stabbed herself.” Following the disheartening event, the following week it was still unclear as to what had happened. Within a week’s notice, an email was sent to invite students and staff to a ceremony that was held to celebrate the life of Garrett, but sources no explanation was given. Weeks following the incident, pamphlets were sent out about suicide and ways to eliminate stress during exams. Over time, students have taken part of the Spelman experience and remained oblivious to the negative and controversial events that have taken place both on and off campus. Originally in the Spelman Spotlight (The schools newspaper) student ran, students were given more lee way and opportunities to speak and inform the entire student body. When asked about the content of the paper, newspaper advisor Dean Ferguson one of the main facilitators when it comes to what is released about students by students, whether it is through the student run newspaper or in a pamphlet. As the Dean of Students, she is very adamant about allowing students to have a voice. When asked about the content of the paper, Ferguson explained that the division of Student Affairs is very much supportive of a student driven paper. "A survey was conducted to allow students the opportunity to choose what they want to see in the newspaper." says Ferguson. Although this is a good strategy to see what preferences the students have for the schools paper in general, it does not elaborate on the types of controversial issues that should also be included in the paper. By law, Spelman College along with other schools and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs, are required to track and disclose data about reported crimes on or near campus. “This information includes, but is not limited to, a daily crime log and timely notification of campus crimes that may pose a threat to safety. This law became known as the ‘Clery Act,’ and took effect in 1990.” This is from the Spelman College Census Information Center. Hopefully with new students coming in the fall, changes will be made to accommodate the students more, and the issues that take place are to be communicated to the student body to eliminate confusion and the creation of misconceptions.In the past certain situations have been communicated, but over time the focus of informing the students and surrounding community has truely fallen off. From Jasmine Lynn to Beverly Garrett: wouldn't they want the community to know their story, to possibly save the lives of others.
When asked about the process taken when a crime is reported on Spelman’s campus, one part time security representative Officer James Cannon stated, “Although there a lot of things we would like to change about the system, we work to the best of our ability to keep the students here safe.” Unlike other schools that provide shuttles, the Spelman shuttle is only allowed to make a few stops to accommodate the students. One of the stops is the Marta station. The Marta is one of the most renowned modes of public transportation in the State of Georgia, as they also work towards having a safe, positive environment. Unfortunately there is not always security on site, making it easy for crime and other things to take place with students and other citizens of the community. Other stops include the Woodruff Library and Spelman’s parking deck. With the lack of resources that are available to the students, it is obvious that the shuttle should make more stops for safety reasons as well as to expand the opportunities and activities in the area for the students. In 2009 A Spelman College student was killed and a Clark-Atlanta student wounded during a shooting early Thursday morning September 3rd on the Clark-Atlanta campus. 1 Killed, 1 Wounded In Clark-Atlanta Shooting "Jasmine Lynn, a Spelman student in her 20s from Kansas City, Mo., was shot after gunfire ranged out during a fight in the 200 block of James P. Brawley Drive", according to police. Lynn was walking with a group of friends back to the Spelman campus when they passed by the fight. "One of the friends actually heard the gunshots, actually saw the weapon and told her to get on the ground," said Lt. Keith Meadows of the Atlanta Police Department. "Before she was able to get on the ground she was struck in the chest by a stray round." Bystanders then rushed to help Lynn. "I walked up to the girl 'cause she was laying on the ground," said witness Danays Marquez. "She was drenched in blood and it looked like she was taking her last breath." A bullet also hit an 18-year-old Clark-Atlanta student in the wrist. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. Although not on Spelman's campus, how could this situation have been prevented? Ones life was lost, another injured what must future students keep in mind when walking around campus. This reported from WSBTV, however an email was sent out to the student body, nothing else was said nor done about the threats this could call to other students. When visiting colleges be sure to ask questions, in regards to overall safety: 1. What types of safety initiatives do you have in place? Do you have K9 patrols throughout the campus? 2. How do I contact my child on campus? Many colleges will provide a campus address and local phone service with voicemail.Do you have security cameras and outdoor emergency phones? 3. What kinds of strategies/training do you have in place for students that will help them feel empowered? 4. Do you have security cameras and outdoor emergency phones? 5. What should be done in case of an emergency? Most colleges have campus police. Make sure your son or daughter posts his or her number in a highly visible area. 6. Where are the emergency telephones located on the campus? Do they work properly, and how often are they tested? Do the calls automatically go to the police? 7. Do you have certified campus policemen and are they allowed to carry a weapon? 8. How can I get a summary of crimes that have been reported on campus? What about statistics on date rape? 9. What is your college's overall safety record? 10. In what kind of neighborhood is the college located? http://angelicatrimble.wordpress.com/
Spelman College in particular has done a great job of keeping both violent offense crimes and non-offense crimes a secret. Unknowingly students continue to walk to and from the West End Mall for small items regardless of the crime and other issues going on. Why is it that Spelman has been able to avoid real publicity and failed to inform the public of such situations? Over time, exploitations and controversial crimes on and around campus have altered this reputation of the schools safety. Because of these minor discrepancies, it is essential that the security on and around Spelman is dedicated to making the right decisions in attempts to ensure that every student and staff member is safe when on campus. Although its not necessarily a good look, when releasing certain information about issues going on, around campus, its imperative to inform current students as well as faculty about what’s going on, so that they can take the right precautionary measures. Since the late 90’s there have been stories and rumors talked about including the 2007 rape of a student from Spelman.For nearly a month, Spelman and its brother school, Morehouse College, had been in an uproar over a freshman student's accusation that four Morehouse men had sexually assaulted her in a Morehouse dorm late one Friday night. The two schools are educational meccas for the black middle class and share a special relationship. "If it had been at another school, they wold still be investigating" yells Kendall Montgomery, Sophomore Political Science Major. From Lori Robinson http://www.giftfromwithin.org/html/iwasraped.html "They ordered me to open the door, but I couldn't get the key to work. That lock always jammed. My hands were shaking. I was talking out loud. "I know it's this key next to the silver one." After several of my futile tries, one of the men said, "It better open this time." Robinson tells her story as well as elaborates on the 2007 rape story from the Spelman Student. According to testimonies the young lady was in a Morehouse dorm late one evening and in attempts to leave she was approached by 4 Morehouse students and raped. Around the time that it happened a lot of controversy surrounded the story as the 4 young men involved denied accusations and were not guilty. More controversy continued in riots and rallies as students began to talk more and more creating rumors and misconstrued information as to what actually happenedsrc="http://www.youtube.com/embed/gPQ1XV8erh4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Monday, April 23, 2012
George Zimmerman was released on $150,000 bail. The event took place in the middle of the night, as to avoid any unnecessary confrontations with those who feel that Zimmerman should spend the rest of his life rotting behind bars. He will be tried for second degree murder in the fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin later this year. He will be tried for second degree murder in the fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin later this year. Like a lot of the news released with this case this news did not settle well with many people. Authorities will now have to contend with another serious issue like people who have sent threats and now TWITTER threats. With quotes like "I be glad wen dey just kill George Zimmerman." and "Dear george zimmerman, kill yourself bitch. Sincerely, everyone" Hopefully they will not amount to anything substancial.