Public safety’s policies and officers are intended to help the student body become more comfortable with their surroundings after moving here. But some of those policies continue to stir up heated debates from students, especially the issue of the late-night gate openings.
As anyone who lives at St. John’s knows, once the clock strikes 11, students outside the gates have Gate Six as the only option to get back on campus. Gate Six is located across from the Public Safety building, and a Public Safety officer guards the gate from 11 p.m. until the next morning, requiring students to swipe in with their Stormcards in order to enter the campus.
Although this can be an inconvenience to many, most people respect the policy because it helps keep those who are not authorized to be on campus from entering.
It is not hard to understand why public safety wants to keep only one gate open at night; it makes it easier to guard the campus when there’s only one point for late-night access.
By reducing the number of ways in which people can freely enter the campus, they give more isolation and safety to the college. However, in their goal to keep the campus safe, they could be endangering the students who leave its gates.
Gate Six is located down a residential street that can be a dangerous area, particularly at night. There have been reports of muggings and other crimes in the area (particularly on Goethals Avenue). By offering alternative entrances at night, the University would decrease the risk for students returning to campus.
In addition, students returning to campus from Union Turnpike or Utopia Parkway are forced to walk around the entire perimeter of campus if they arrive after the other gates close.
This leaves students vulnerable while they take long walks down the relatively deserted side streets around the university, side streets that have been featured many times in Public Safety mugging advisories.
The street outside of Gate Seven is a popular spot for resident students to park their cars, and Gate One would make returning from Union Turnpike stores, like Barnes and Noble, much easier.
Allowing students another option would help to stimulate a sense of safety outside of the gates of St. John’s. Students feel safe once inside, but they may not have that feeling when walking down a street during the night. The peace of mind that would come from having one or two more gates available for entry at night would ease the fears of many.
In a world where people are taught to fear so many things, having an area with a sense of comfort and safety is a significant help. By closing the campus off at night, St. John’s provides this to every student that resides within.
By opening just one more gate, the University can extend that feeling just a little bit farther, and that little bit can go a long way towards making St. John’s feel like home.