Recent studies revealed that Keene State College students are committing more crimes on campus. The Keene Police Department and KSC Office for Campus Safety have worked together to compile data on crimes occurring on campus and in off-campus student housing. This information can be found in the Keene State College Campus Crime and Fire Safety Report, which is published annually.
The report states that the number of rape crimes committed on campus has more than quadrupled since 2015 to 2017, from two to nine. More incidents of stalking have occurred as well, increasing from one incident per year in 2015 to seven in 2017. The report also states that there were six hate crimes committed in 2017, two of which involved damage/destruction of property. Furthermore, most of the crimes were characterized by gender-identity bias and sexual-orientation bias. This is still an improvement since 2016, when twenty hate crimes were committed on campus. Nineteen of the incidents included vandalism and destruction of property, and most were characterized by gender-identity bias. In 2015 there were only two hate crimes committed.
What is causing such outlandish behavior in the KSC community? Well, according to the KSC Crime and Safety Report, more crimes were committed on average in 2016. The most prevalent crimes were burglary, hate crimes, minor alcohol possession, and possession of weapons. This could be due to the 2016 presidential election, when tensions were high and multiple protests were happening on campus, such as the Women’s March and the Bill Clinton rally.
In 2017, more of the crimes committed on campus related to sexual assault. Coincidentally, sexual assault allegations were all over the news in 2017. It started when the New York Times broke the news about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment allegations. Since then, many high profile men in business, Hollywood and politics have been accused of sexual harassment. Among them include President Donald Trump, NBC morning host Matt Lauer, comedian Louis C.K, NPR’s chief editor Michael Oreskes, and most recently, U.S. Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
In both cases, the media seems to be responsible for the uprise in violent behavior. This comes as no surprise, since many hate crimes were reported across college campuses nationwide from 2016 to 2017. The U.S. Department of Education reported a 25 percent increase of campus hate crimes from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, there were 1,250 hate crimes reported, which is quite a jump from the 970 average held in the previous four years.
Nonetheless, students at Keene State College are expected to hold themselves to a certain standard regarding their behavior. In the past, student’s art sculptures, dorms, and off-campus houses have been vandalized. Not only that, but LGBTQ posters and displays have been ripped down in the student center and dormitories, suggesting there is some hostility towards the LGBTQ community.
It is within every student’s right to express their opinion, no matter their sexual orientation or political views. People are even able to express fascist or communist views as long as they are not inciting violence, destroying property or breaking any laws. The people committing these crimes may be aggravated by the media and campus politics, but they should not react with violence. It would be more beneficial for these people and the community if they would come out in the open and express their views verbally.
Moreover, almost every student attending Keene State College is spending thousands of dollars per semester to learn and become well-rounded citizens. A collegiate does not have to spray paint someone else’s property or terrorize other people in order to prove a point. Instead, collegiates spend thousands of dollars learning to speak articulately and write effectively; so why not use these skills instead? You can write your ideas down, start a conversation, join a club, participate in a campaign or see a counselor if you have any problems you want to discuss. Doing any of these things is far more productive than burning swastikas on the bathroom ceiling.
In all, it is within the community’s and the individual’s best interest to not commit crimes on campus. This college strives to maintain a diverse body of students with different viewpoints and backgrounds, so it is expected that we all tolerate one another respectively.
Katie Jensen can be