Home OpinionEditorial EDITORIAL: Keeping Students Safe Should Be Montclair State’s Top Priority

EDITORIAL: Keeping Students Safe Should Be Montclair State’s Top Priority

by Avery Nixon

Finally, Montclair State University students step onto campus this fall maskless and ready to get back to life similar to pre-coronavirus (COVID-19).

While students are thankful to experience college life more freely than in the last two years, that does not mean all is perfect on our Spanish Mission-style architecture campus.

There are a few things that need to be improved this year, same as the many years before. However, as students, we know that change is not instant and over time the institution will continue to improve.

Will Montclair State ever improve to the point where I don’t wait for thirty minutes for a large iced mocha latte from the Blanton Hall Dunkin’? That I am not sure of, but a girl can dream.

Probably the number one rule for any school in America, unless your state government officials receive funds from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and give out a plethora of thoughts and prayers, is keeping students safe.

Keeping students safe means a lot of things. We still need public health regulations and guidelines to ensure we can attend in-person classes and receive the educational experience we pay thousands of dollars for.

Keeping masks optional but recommended couldn’t hurt anyone. The most important thing is stressing the importance of sanitation, personal health and keeping sick students out of classrooms.

However, maybe this semester students who do fall ill from COVID-19 or other contagious illnesses should not be heavily penalized for keeping their fellow students safe. We understand attendance is important, but there’s no use in taking attendance if your whole class has COVID-19.

A lot of professors take attendance seriously, but should probably look into some leeway for the students who are doing the responsible thing and not contaminating the entire classroom.

In addition to public health and safety, Montclair State has a sexual harassment problem that needs to be eradicated.

We’re aware that sexual harassment may be hard to prove and the investigating process is long and tiring, but we can all agree that we cannot sit back and let ourselves be subjected to such cruel abuse.

We ask that more resources go into investigating and defeating this problem. Harsher punishments and more mandatory education on what sexual harassment is and why it’s so bad will improve the safety of all students.

Montclair State’s incoming freshmen go through an orientation that does teach about this issue, but most freshmen just try to finish the process as quickly as possible.

It’s evident that this is a serious issue and we have to make sure anyone isn’t falsely accused, but whether it’s a false accusation or not, it has to be taken seriously so the victim of either situation can get justice.

It’s hard to investigate a sexual harassment/assault case, but it’s not hard to put in the work to prevent one.

Speaking of harassment, students have been dreading the day the Key of David Christian Center comes back on campus to call us the most heinous things you can think of.

Some student organizations have to jump through a million hoops just to promote themselves on campus with a table and a few signs. So why two weird men with too much free time get to tell a group of students that they are going to Hell freely is beyond me.

Maybe this year we don’t protect the protestors and we protect the students who are in thousands of dollars of debt just to receive their degree.

In all, we want to make this school year a great one. And we can’t do that without the help of the institution to ensure our safety from disease, harassment and people who probably spent too much money on poster board and looking up new insults on UrbanDictionary.com.

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