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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Main Point: There’s more work to be done

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One in five women and one in 16 men will be sexually assaulted during their time attending college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

These numbers are frightening.

In addition, 90% of campus assaults are committed by someone the victim knows personally.

Jayden de Laura was signed to the Texas State football team despite being accused of violently raping one of his acquaintances after a football game in high school.

Though de Laura has since withdrawn from the university, his signing was yet another bullet point added to the list of acts committed by Texas State showing students their safety is not a priority.

The Clery Act is a federal law that requires universities to provide timely information about crimes reported on college campuses. According to Texas State University, “the purpose of the Clery Act is to promote a safe and secure campus.”

According to an article from The University StarTexas State drastically underreported rapes in the 2019 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report and showed dramatic increases in the number of reported crimes in the 2023 report.

According to President Kelly Damphousse, higher numbers could just mean more students were comfortable filing reports in 2022. Though it’s difficult to know if this is true, the sensible thing for Texas State to do would be to find any way possible to make the campus a safer and more comfortable space for students. However, despite the higher numbers, there has been no proof of action since the release of the 2023 Clery report.

Texas State officials must work to solve this issue before an abundance of residents begin moving into James Street Housing and the newly acquired Vistas and Sanctuary Lofts apartments.

According to the 2023 Texas State Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, there were 38 reported rapes on campus, 29 of which occurred in the residential halls. In addition, there were 34 reported cases of domestic violence, 32 of which took place within residential halls.

By comparison, The University of Texas at Austin has around 15,000 more students than Texas State but had 29 reported on-campus rapes and only nine occurred in residence halls.

Despite the high sexual violence numbers in the residence halls, freshmen at Texas State are required to live on campus. According to the Center for Women and Families, “‘The Red Zone’ is the period of time from the beginning of fall semester to Thanksgiving break when sexual assaults on U.S. college campuses spike” and freshman females are the most vulnerable during this time.

It is clear Texas State has a problem within the dorms that needs to be addressed. Living on campus and in student housing is supposed to be a comfortable experience; students should not have to worry about their well-being while they’re in their homes. As the university takes on bigger and bigger freshman classes, more safety measures must be put in place.

“When you have more humans living here, there are more folks who have the ability to end up in some of these situations that are Clery reportable,” Bill Mattera, executive director of Housing and Residential Life, said in an Oct. 11 news article.

In spite of a larger than ever student enrollment, there was a shortage of seven patrolling University Police Department (UPD) officers in October, according to an article from The University Star. On a campus as big as Texas State, a shortage that significant makes a difference in the safety and security promised to students when they step foot on campus.

“We’re down officers on the street,” Matt Carmichael, UPD police chief, said in an Oct. 11 news article. “So out of our authorized staffing level, we’re down seven [officers] and three are always assigned to Round Rock… and that does make a difference.”

So what does it mean to be a student on the Texas State campus right now?

It means being alert when walking alone, traveling with friends, not wearing headphones when walking to class, having our heads on a constant swivel to stay aware of our surroundings and being disappointed in university officials who should be doing everything to keep us safe.

University officials must ensure they stay connected to the wishes of the student body. Listen when students say there is a problem, promote resources available to those in need and don’t make decisions that could put students at risk.

The fact university officials embraced de Laura with open arms and hoped for him to be the face of Texas State football speaks volumes about where their values truly stand: money, not students.

Students organizing to call for de Laura’s removal was a step in the right direction. However, the fight is far from over. The student body must make their voices heard by continuing to put pressure on Texas State University.

The Main Point is an opinion written by The University Star’s Editorial Board. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of our entire publication.

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