Crime fears haunt NCU students
In recent times, the Mandeville region, specifically areas surrounding the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), has become a hotspot for crime. These crimes are normally in the forms of robbery and robbery with aggravation.
The attacks have become so frequent that on an average, about two to three NCU students are being robbed daily. It is quite unfortunate that students are not only robbed, but, in recent times, the trend is to rob and wound.
As a result of this atrocity, many students find it rather difficult to remain on campus during off-peak hours. It is, however, interesting because full-time classes operate within the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Then one heads to the library from 5 p.m. until its closure (10 p.m. or, better termed, off-peak hours). How then must I go to the library to complete my studies knowing that, after closure, I will have to walk home and be robbed, or robbed as soon as I alight from a taxi to enter my house?
In response to all these complaints, the University Administration and the United Student Movement (USM) (student government) have responded with a bus shuttle system that takes students to their residences. This shuttle system operates at 6:30 p.m, 8:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.
Though a good initiative, it is still not enough to rescue our students from the gruesome attacks they face daily. In reality, how long is the shuttle system going to work? How many persons can it accommodate? What about those who are being robbed at midday?
Can we even begin to consider the large number of students who will have to go home within the schedule for these trips? Could it be that what we are doing is addressing the effect and not the cause?
Based on all that has been happening, corporate and local communities in Mandeville do not know the value of NCU. Could it be that a workable strategy to countering crime is to educate the people on the benefits of the university, or is it that the university is only benefiting itself and not the community?
The businesses within corporate Mandeville benefit from commuters and consumers who just happen to be NCU students. Why then is the business community not being encouraged to protect their assets (the students)?
On a given holiday, when most of the NCU population goes home, Mandeville is like a remote area. Businesses suffer great loss in consumer consumption, taxi men suffer low passenger turnout and even NCU suffers when the students leave.
Perhaps, we could initiate a community drive that would seek to demolish the walls between 'us' and 'them'. Perhaps, NCU students will need to start being more polite, down to earth and courteous to those living around them. How about little acts of kindness to persons in their community?
I am convinced that the university administration and the USM do not realise that the complexity of solution is as simple as exposing the worth of the university to the communities.
Protect your greatest assets
I hereby appeal to corporate Mandeville get on board with the anti-crime movement in an attempt to protect your greatest assets. I am crying to the communities to know and cherish the worth of having an internationally acknowledged university in your community.
Finally, I beseech the university administration and the USM to get past dialogues and actually be so practical that both the communities and the students can feel and see it.
Talk of us having community meetings sounds really great, but the questions are: How effective are these community meetings? How many persons attend these meetings? Do the persons that we want to attend them even care about these meetings? I propose something a little more radical.
How about staging a few protests prior to these meetings? We could use these protests to get the attention of the community, then we call for a meeting. How about even a community fair or a sports day or something being held on the campus with great emphasis being placed on community involvement?
Finally, a mother, though strict enough to reprimand a child, is soft and tender enough to care for that child nonetheless. This happens simply because the mother knows the worth of that child. Can we, therefore, expose NCU's worth to the community? Who knows what radical changes might take place?
Wrenae R. Hudson
School of Religion and Theology
Northern Caribbean Universitywrenae@stu.ncu.edu.jm