A Plague of Gun Violence on College Campuses

stop-50b6c0291bf4eThe year 2015 has seen a large number of incidents of gun violence on college campuses nationwide. Ten people died after a gunman opened fire on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon in early October.

Unfortunately, many of our nation’s historically Black colleges and universities have also been subjected to shooting incidents on or near their campuses this year.

  • A man was killed at a street block party near the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, where 300 to 400 people, many of them students, had gathered. Neither the victim nor the alleged shooter were students.
  • Three students were shot at a university-sanctioned cookout at Delaware State University. Early the next morning, shots were fired at a university housing complex.
  • A male student was shot at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. The student was shot while sitting in a car on campus.
  • Three students were shot at Tennessee State University as a result of a dispute during a dice game. One person died in the incident.
  • A male student at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama, was shot and killed at an off-campus housing complex that is owned by the university.
  • A sophomore at North Carolina Central University was shot after an argument on campus.
  • One student was killed and another wounded at a housing complex at Texas Southern University in Houston.

Gun violence is widespread and certainly is not restricted to Black college campuses. But a perception that HBCU campuses are not safe may put pressure on enrollments. And increasing enrollments is very important to the financial stability of many HBCUs.

John M. Rudley, president of Texas Southern University in Houston recently convened group of law enforcement officials to look at procedures, personnel and protocol when dealing with crime and crime prevention on and near campus. “I want to send a message to the community that this is not a one day story,” President Rudley emphasized. “We will deal with this issue of protecting our students, faculty and staff 365 days a year.”

Dr. Rudley and the law enforcement leaders said five initiatives and recommendations that were presented in the task force meeting will be implemented immediately. They are:

* Build stronger relationships and partnerships with area federal, state, and other local law enforcement agencies
* Enhance visibility on campus by utilizing alternative mobility units (bicycle officers, etc.)
* Conduct community forums with students and hold specific training sessions with them
* Apply for grants to supplement the police operations
* Utilize technology as a force-multiplier (cell phone apps, etc.)

Update: On November 1, one student was shot dead and another student was wounded in an incident on the campus of Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina.

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