Three TSG senators who recently suffered crimes made safety an issue at the second State of the Campus Address of the year.
At the second State of Campus Address, Temple Student Government senators Eva Alkasov, Natalie Ramos-Castillo and Kyle Goldstein spoke about campus safety by telling the audience of their recent experiences as victims of crime.
Goldstein, a junior civil engineering major, said he was standing at the SEPTA train platform at Fern Rock station around 11:30 p.m. Oct. 8 when an unidentified man held him at gunpoint and stole his belongings — his backpack, which included his laptop and textbooks, and his cell phone — before hitting him in the face with the barrel of his gun.
Ramos-Castillo and Alkasov are roommates who leave in a nearby off-campus apartment. The two said they arrived home the night of Oct. 23 to find their apartment had been broken into, and their television set and three laptops stolen.
Now, the three TSG senators say they want the rest of the student body to learn from their mistakes and take every measure to stay safe.
“I know it sounds cliché, but be aware of your surroundings, realize that anyone can be a victim,” Goldstein said.
Sol Frias, a sophomore accounting major, was especially concerned with Goldstein’s situation. Frias takes the Regional Rail to campus for class.
“Fern Rock is very deserted, even throughout the day,” she said. “I wouldn’t trust waiting on [Fern Rock’s] platform.”
Angie Ruizo will be starting at Temple as a junior BTMM major, and taking the train to campus every day.
“Hearing something like [Goldstein’s story] is scary,” she said.
“I take the subway at night, 9:30 at the latest,” Ruizo added. “I tell my friends that if we’re not done what we’re doing by then, I’m sleeping at someone’s house.”
Both Ruizo and Frias agreed that walking around anywhere alone, on or off campus, is not safe but said the lighting on campus at least makes the walk somewhat safe.
Alkasov, a junior political science major, and early education major Ramos-Castillo echoed this sentiment. The two also emphasized the importance of selecting housing carefully, since their landlord advised them against putting bars on their windows, citing fire safety. Police told the two roommates the intruder got into their apartment through Ramos-Castillo’s window.
“Don’t let your landlord, just because you’re students, convince you not to do something that you think is important,” Alkasov said.
“Cheapest [for the landlord] isn’t cheap for us,” Ramos-Castillo added.
Both Ramos-Castillo and Alkasov said there are removable bars available for purchase and encouraged students to invest in them. They also said that if students are robbed, they should call 911 and Temple Police.
The idea of bars on windows, however, didn’t sit as well with Ruizo and Frias. Ruizo said when a fire starts, inhabitants might not think of finding the key to unlock or remove the bars.
Danny Gutierrez, a sophomore psychology major, said bars on windows don’t bother him.
“I’m accustomed to bars on windows because I’ve lived in apartments all my life,” he said. “There are plenty of ways to get out of a fire, so if [bars] prevent theft, then I’m a big fan of them.”
Overall, the TSG senators say they want to make sure students are acting safely and maintaining cautiousness throughout their stays at Temple.
“[Students] lose the fear of danger happening the longer they’re here,” Ramos-Castillo said. “Keep this in mind.”
Joshua Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.