Emily Hawkins –
On the weekend of October 24, two Illinois College students traumatically experienced something many students across the country suffer through: on-campus violence.
The American College Health Association states in their “Campus Violence White Paper” article that students from the ages of 18-24 report about 526,000 violent crimes a year, these numbers deriving from anonymous surveys given on college campuses around the country. The reason for the anonymity is the startling fact that thousands of violence cases are not reported to the authorities because of students’ shame (mainly sex-related) and misunderstanding of the crime committed against them.
The particular incident at our own campus was fortunately reported to the college and the proper authorities.
For those who have not heard of the incident through the rumor mill, here’s the rundown: two male IC students were assaulted on the corner of College and Park after walking back from the bars downtown by a group of four young men. It is rumored that at least one of these students was from MacMurray College, but this has not been confirmed. Prior to the assault, many have said the IC students and the attackers had a brief altercation at a local bar but no punches were thrown.
Both IC students were taken to the hospital with minor injuries and Malinda Carlson, the Dean of Students, was informed of the brawl, along with Campus Security and Residential Life officials.
Dean Carlson struggled to understand why this and any other assaults on campuses around the nation have happened, but stresses more than ever the importance of community in situations like this. “We all need to take responsibility to keep ourselves and our community safe as much as we can.”
Dean Carlson believes this incident does not require any new rules for campus, but still encourages students to take precautions. There are several steps that a student can take to ensure their safety:
Firstly, if you find yourself out late at night, make sure you are not alone. While this seems like an obvious precaution, students can easily justify a late night outing by means of our small campus. But it only takes a second to go from safe to danger.
Secondly, if you must walk alone, have your cell phone close by. This should not be difficult considering most of us walk everywhere with our phones in our hands. If you see someone you believe to be suspicious, call the cops (911).
Exhaust all resources before walking by yourself. Call everyone you know to give you a ride. Call the “Drunk” Bus (217-245-9122) or The Green Cab (217-245-2227).
The same can be said for walking home from the bar or a party. Alcohol obviously impairs judgment, so have a plan beforehand to appoint a designated driver, or know that you will walk home with a larger group. It’s even better to be brought home by the police than assaulted by strangers and brought to the hospital.
It is impossible to prevent every single case of violence, but it is much more likely to avoid it if you take the right steps.
If a situation like this happens again, then Dean Carlson believes “we need to reevaluate.” She says “The support of the community is important and we need to come together. Anyone would be welcome to contribute ideas to our safety, students especially. Students’ ideas are very important.”
The Rambler reached out to Mark Lawson of Security for comment, who then directed us to Vice-President Frank Williams, who in turn told us to contact Lawson. Neither could be reached before the publishing of this issue.
Emily Hawkins, from Belvidere, Illinois, is a senior majoring in English with a Creative Writing Concentration with a Psychology minor. Emily is a Features Co-editor and writer for The Rambler, and plays softball.