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On campus violence concerns parents and students

Campus safety should always be the first priority of students on campus. Even in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Georgia State University seems to struggle a little with that priority. With the recent shooting between GSU students and visitors, that makes it the fourth violent act on campus since the start of 2016. This leaves nothing but concern and doubt for the police department at the Atlanta campus.

Following the on campus shooting, GSU president, Mark Becker, gave an honest statement about the recent acts. He had the following to say:

To the Georgia State community,

I know you share my outrage over the on-campus shooting that took place last night in front of the Piedmont North housing complex. While the suspects were taken into custody and charged shortly after the incident, these types of crimes are completely unacceptable and rightfully alarm our community.

I was particularly disheartened to learn that one of our own Georgia State students allegedly created the situation by selling drugs to visitors to campus.

I am proud of the hard work, dedication and commitment of our University Police Department, yet it is a time to make a change in leadership. Connie Sampson, who heads University Police as associate vice president for university police and building services, will now focus entirely on building services. We are beginning the search for an experienced law enforcement professional whose sole focus will be campus safety. In the interim, Deputy Chief Carlton Mullis will serve as acting chief of police.

We are also immediately changing our processes for timely notifications and emergency alerts. Many students and parents expressed concern they first heard about the incident on the news rather than from their own university.  I am disappointed we did not promptly and effectively communicate what was happening last night as information became available. We will provide timely and frequent messages through a variety of channels to keep you informed.

I welcome your feedback and suggestions as we move forward: http://www.gsu.edu/safety-feedback/

With this statement issued immediately after the shooting, which occurred on March 21, 2016, it left people questioning who would fill in that position as an experienced chief of police. Another question raised is the open carry law, which allows people to carry a firearm on campus. Many students are worried and do not think that is such a good idea after the events at GSU’s Atlanta campus.

Although I was not able to acquire a statement or interview with the president about the matter, I did catch up with some students to get their opinions on this matter.

Patrick Sledge, a journalism major at the Dunwoody campus, believe more part time security guards should be hired to handle incidents on the campus. While he believes more security is the way to go, he supports the open carry law and cites it “more safe.” Another journalism student at Dunwoody, Bernard Malone, feels the same way about the law, and also about hiring more part time guards on the campus. One student was neutral in the matter of both. “I can see both sides of why you would not want guns on campus and why you would,” said Naya Clark, a journalism major at the Dunwoody campus. As for the security issues, Naya believes that there are enough security guards for our safety at GSU.

According to CampusSafetyMagazine.com, there are 35 full-time guards and 15 part-time guards. Is that enough to protect a school that has over 30,000 students enrolled in one campus? What about the other campuses that is now GSU after the consolidation? We will soon find out what security procedures will take place for this school.

About Taj Strickland

Dunwoody staff writer

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