The news that Emerson has the most dangerous campus in the country shocked most Bostonians this week after a Daily Beast.com article made its way around the blogosphere and Facebook statuses. Emerson, which reported 160 crimes in 2007 and 2008 to the Department of Education, was joined by Harvard, MIT and Tufts in the list of the Top 25 Most Dangerous Campuses, mostly because of their campuses’ proximity to the crime-ridden streets of downtown Boston.
However, there’s one really big, gaping hole on that list: Suffolk University. Because we are quite literally a stone’s throw away from Emerson, and our campus also includes sketchy-as-all-hell Downtown Crossing, as well as half of the Boston Common, it’s ludicrous to believe that we shouldn’t be on the list right up there with the rest of the colleges with campuses in this neighborhood.
The statistics that The Daily Beast used to determine their rankings had more to do with the crimes reported to the Federal Government under the Clery Act –which mandates that all schools report not only on-campus crimes, but also neighborhood crimes – than anything else. Out of the 160 crimes that Emerson reported, only six directly involved students, according to the article in question, “How Safe is Your College?” Yet, because of their downtown location, Emerson is at the top of the list.
Suffolk missing from the list raises some really big questions. Not that we want Suffolk to be on the list, but why aren’t they? Is Suffolk not reporting crimes to the DOE and breaking federal law? Did The Daily Beast just not count us for some reason? Either way, there’s something fishy about the whole situation. We still live in a dangerous, urban neighborhood and everyone on campus and off needs to be aware of it.
Having a false sense of security about where we live is probably even more dangerous than living in the city and being aware of the danger that surrounds us. If Suffolk had made it onto The Daily Beast’s list, we would have gotten an email, a CampusCruiser announcement, and Mo Brown would be teaching three self-defense courses a week. We aren’t on the list (although we probably should be) but that can’t lure us into believing that SUPD can protect us from every crack head between Donahue and the North End. Keep an eye out, everyone.