Protecting CSULB’s campus

Can the Beach become a zero violence campus by 2030? Before? Or an open, non-violent campus?

Campus safety has been a popular theme for the Imagine BEACH 2030 community. More specifically, the two issues of guns and sexual assault have been frequently mentioned as sources of apprehension. This pronounced concern is understandable considering the national context where both the “Me Too” and “Never Again” movements have shined a bright light on the respective sexual assault and gun violence issues festering within the country.

It’s clear from online conversations that a number of students, faculty, and staff don’t feel safe on campus. One player named Lili points to a shadow future where gun violence continues to happen and legislation doesn’t get passed.

Lili says "School safety & public safety: gun violence will continue to happen- difficult to pass gun control legislation #guncontrol #schoolsafety #studentwellbeing #pactt12 #edd". M. Anderson replies "I agree. It is sad that we have to live with this. #EDLD #PACTT12 #CED #EDD"

One silver lining of the Parkland, Florida shooting, which occurred on February 14th and resulted in 17 deaths at a high school, is that it led to a student-led movement which organized numerous “March For Our Lives” marches across the country and has kept the conversation on gun violence, especially in schools, alive. What can state and local institutions, like universities, do to take action to ensure students, staff, and faculty feel secure?

A player by the name of Robin asks how it is we can protect the university community while still ensuring openness.

Robin says "How can we protect the CSULB community from gun violence while keeping an open environment on campus? #es2030". Natalie Young replies "This issue needs to be addressed."

The question might not be easily answered, but other players are echoing the consternation and the necessity for something to be done.

Erikar says "I am concerned for the safety of students and gun control."

What would an open, nonviolent campus look like? Just a few possible questions to ask are what behaviors, technologies, aspects of campus culture, or institutional structures should be created, modified, or removed to protect the community’s physical and mental well-being while also respecting people’s freedom? As Kristy Nguyen mentions, fear shouldn’t be a constant emotion on campus.

Kristy Nguyen says "GUN awareness in full affect. Never having to fear about campus safety! #StudentWellbeing". Adam Mitchell replies "Amen! #SAFECAMPUS"

Some students, like Zakipalm, believe a secure campus shouldn’t mean the presence of police. With a diverse population like the Beach, it’s important to remember that different communities have different relationships with police, and the site of a police officer can instill more fear than safety.

Zakipalm says "#Security No police state, please. Student's have a range of experiences with police, not all positive." Nathan replies "Yes! #abolishCSULBpolice"

We shouldn’t wait until after a university shooting happens to find the solutions. The CSULB community is expressing its worry, and a campus-wide plan to prevent violence and maintain safety which takes all voices and experiences into account would put students, staff, and faculty at ease.

In addition to gun violence, sexual assault is a topic where some students are communicating their unease. One player Sophia suggests regular mandatory sexual misconduct prevention training to address the issue.

Sophia says "There should be a mandatory training course emphasizing on mental health that students and faculty have to take every semester with resources like the Mandatory Sexual Misconduct Prevention Training."

Another player Isaias M envisions a future where sexual abuse (and racism) have been eradicated.

Isaias M says "Are racism and sexual abuse going to be non-existent by then? How can technology and other advances in society helps us to eliminate this ? The faster this is eradicated in this campus, the better. It would be disheartening to have a 2030 and be exposed to this."

Why not? What if CSULB could become the first university campus in the U.S. to go through an entire school-year with zero incidents of sexual assault, racist acts, or gun violence? Whether through mandatory trainings on self-defense or sexual abuse prevention, mental health counselors, or new technologies like smarter campus alarms and lighting, CSULB has the potential to transform the feeling of safety on its campus by analyzing its vulnerabilities and taking direct action informed from collaborative foresight and insight.