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What is Montclair State Doing to Protect Its Students?

by Madison Boyce

Trigger Warning: The following article contains content pertaining to sexual harassment.

For those who are not aware of what the Clery Act is, it’s a long-standing federal law that provides transparency for crimes occurring on college campuses across the United States. Here at Montclair State University, ours was recently published.

The Act is named after Jeanne Clery, a freshman who was raped and murdered while attending Lehigh University in 1986. After Clery’s death, her parents found out that 38 violent crimes occurred before their daughter’s enrollment and that information was never made known to the University’s attendees. The law was put into place in 1990.

In The Montclarion’s article on the 2021 report, the information provided shows cases have drastically risen since the last published report in 2020. Taking into account the lack of residents on campus due to the pandemic, the rise can be attributed to that. But, hearing how unsafe we are due to the number of cases on campus is terrifying.

Within the article, there seems to be a bunch of empty promises coming from Montclair State University police. Deputy Chief of Police Kieran Barrett comments on the numbers, shares resources available to students and ensures that the police department is working to make our campus safe, but he does not specify what is being done to improve these statistics.

You hear so many sexual assault cases coming from universities of all sizes and having it come so close to home is concerning.

There are ways to prevent this and to make the statistics lessen, but there seems to be none happening here. The promotion of on-campus resources is so heavily pushed, but what exactly will our school be doing to keep us safe?

In the article, Barrett stated, “While the numbers tend to fluctuate slightly from year to year, these numbers are just a return to pre-pandemic totals,” in the original report.

This statement without any active measures being taken feels like a slap in the face to all individuals at risk.

It shouldn’t be up to people like myself to call these things out and give active ways to solve these issues, but this is what it has come down to. A simple way to make people feel safe on campus is when it gets darker to have more security measures set up. Having classes end so late that it’s pitch black outside causes so much worry to the point where I know I won’t walk alone. Sometimes walking alone has to happen and the fact that most at-risk individuals have to walk with pepper spray on them is ridiculous.

Students deserve to feel safe wherever they are. We deserve to not have to fret over being made to feel the agonizing feeling of being catcalled and what can stem from those situations.

To the staff, administration and police department of Montclair State University: we are tired and we want a change and visible change at that. The lack of concern and visible action speaks volumes.

For the safety of your students, do better.

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