Staff editorial: Police taking steps to get in touch with students


University police vehicles parked outside of the campus police department. (File photo)

Acknowledgment can be half the battle.

In the last year, students have expressed their concerns for campus safety while the University Police Department appears to put up a front.

“We’re a pretty safe campus,” Chief Sara Morris said during a campus safety forum last month, citing an annual safety report.

Morris added that students have a misunderstanding between “the perception of crime, and fear of crime versus reality.”

Regardless of numbers, perceptions and reality, it’s time for the police department to be in touch with the students it protects. Acknowledging that students don’t feel safe walking to their cars at night is just one step in making them feel more comfortable with the police department.

The university announced a new initiative last week to put officers on interior foot patrol, as reported Sept. 10 by The Sunflower.

The focus is meant to discover students’ fears and create solutions, Morris said in the article.

“I don’t check social media sites like Facebook, so this will be a way for me to know what the community wants, what students are thinking,” she said.


Social media is a hub for student concerns. On the popular anonymous mobile application Yik Yak, one person posted: “Go walk around the edge [of] campus at night then tell me there is no problem with the safety of campus.”

Another said, “WSU isn’t the safest part of Wichita.”

Through on-campus foot patrols, escort services and an upcoming student discussion, The Sunflower editorial board supports the efforts being made to listen to students.

A town hall meeting hosted by Student Government Association is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Rhatigan Student Center, Room 265. Morris, Mandy Hambelton, director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Ted Ayres, director of Community Engagement, and Scott Jensen, director of Hounding and Residence Life, will be on hand to discuss campus safety with students.

The Sunflower encourages students, faculty and staff to voice their opinions at this forum, and for those that can’t attend, follow @sunflowernews on Twitter and Persicope for live tweets and streaming.

The conversation should continue as more definitive steps are being taken to address concerns.

— The Editorial Board