The Daily Aztec

Closing campus isn’t worth the hassle

by Jimmy Janszen, Contributor

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On Sept. 14, San Diego State police arrested a suspect in connection to a sexual battery that occurred on campus.

The alleged perpetrator was identified as 21-year-old Glen Balancar. He does not attend SDSU.

According to police, there are no policies restricting non-students from entering campus.

SDSU is a public university open to anyone who wants to walk freely around the campus.

Although closing the campus to the public may seem like a good safety measure, the overall cost wouldn’t be worth it. It wouldn’t stop inevitable crime and would inconvenience SDSU’s students and guests.

Universities have traditionally had open campuses, with few exceptions.

However, an increasing number of colleges are taking extra precautions to protect students by closing campuses off to the public.

In response to a 2012 shooting of two graduate students, USC closed its campus off at night to the public.

USC’s policy reads in part, “From 9 (p.m.) to 6 (a.m.) each day, security personnel stationed at each open entrance will ask anyone coming onto campus — including students, faculty and staff — to provide their USC identification card or other approved photo identification.”

Guests have to be registered beforehand by students or faculty in order to get on campus.

USC undergrad student Sanford Reed said the closed-campus policy doesn’t do much to stop crime and that he still receives Department of Public Safety alerts from the campus police about twice a week.

“Also, registering guests is such a convoluted and annoying process every since they closed the campus,” Reed said.

If a similar injunction takes place at SDSU, the outcome will show little improvement in crime rates. Statistics show closing the campus to the public may not be doing any crime prevention at all.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, from 2011 to 2013, on-campus aggravated assaults actually increased at USC.

With a closed campus and increased security, it would be presumed that crime would decrease.

So why should SDSU close its campus if that hasn’t prevented crime at other universities? It’s a waste of resources and a whole lot of inconvenience.

Balancar, the man arrested at SDSU, has a history with sexual battery. According to a Southwestern College crime alert, Balancar was previously arrested for battery against a female student, so a closed campus likely wouldn’t have stopped him from sexually harassing students.

A closed campus won’t necessarily halt crime. SDSU and other open-campus universities shouldn’t waste funds and resources using more police and security to keep its campus closed to the outside world.

A college campus is best kept open to the public. Financially and by means of convenience, it’s not worth it.

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