Staff Editorial: 2020 brings the hope of continued safety improvements

On Monday morning, Chancellor Andrew Martin released an email informing University affiliates of the “safety and security updates” that the university has made. This email served as a follow-up to Martin’s previous email released in September 2019, which was written in response to the apparent increasing crime taking place in the University’s surrounding neighborhoods that students inhabit.

In the email, Martin addressed that one of the initiatives that the University was taking in creating a safer living environment for its students is creating better community ties, along with increasing WUPD presence. In the past, many students have spoken out against increased police presence on and around campus, as this solution has the potential to make some students uncomfortable. Although Martin did state that the University would be increasing security on and around campus, he did so with the idea of improving community relations in conjunction with the increased security. He did not merely provide a solution to directly and instantly fix the safety issue, but rather he acknowledged the fact that this University resides within St. Louis, and that we as a University are enmeshed within the St. Louis community, something that many of us forget.

We appreciate that Martin did not seek increased security as the only means of safety improvement, but rather as an addition to a larger goal of improving relations within the communities that Wash. U. students reside. In strengthening these community ties, Wash.U. gains the potential of having a long term solution to safety concerns, as opposed to a temporary fix to a larger issue. A community engagement officer was added to the Washington University Police Department (WUPD) force to improve these relations. However, we would still like some more clarity as to how the new officer will see this goal through. Regardless, this effort is a step in the right direction for improving safety both on and around campus.

The Editorial Board commends Martin for his continuous effort and support on the matter, for being proactive rather than reactive to the safety of Wash. U. students. It is easy to merely send an email in direct response to a situation, without including any follow-up or information to the University body as to how the problem is being solved. Thus, we appreciate the continuous updates, as they keep students in the know about how the University is addressing our safety concerns, instead of leaving us in the dark.

Martin’s email was generally empathetic to students’ concerns, and the information within the email addressed those concerns accordingly. The Editorial Board applauds the University for not taking these concerns lightly, and for listening to student concerns and feedback, something that we hope to see the University continue to do in the future. We look forward to seeing how these ideas are implemented in action, and we hope to continue receiving updates from the University.

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