As the elected student senator for parking and safety at Fresno State, I feel it is my obligation to address Vice President of Student Affairs Paul Oliaro’s propaganda and campaign of denial regarding campus safety issues at Fresno State.
This week, the university has attempted to convince the community that the issue of campus safety is not as bad as it may appear.
It is my belief that the majority of the student population at Fresno State believes that the university’s administration is in absolute denial about the safety concerns of students regardless of national rankings.
Student government representatives constantly hear first-hand stories from our constituency that supports our belief that this campus is plagued with bike thefts, burglaries, robberies — just to name a few.
I am unaware of another campus such as Fresno State that has experienced multiple robberies at gunpoint, shootings occurring in fraternity houses by gang members, and an incident where a sexual predator assaulted a female student in the campus library, all within the period of one year.
Our student email accounts receive an outrageous amount of crime alert announcements released by the university’s police department detailing incidents that relate to campus crime. Fresno State is only kidding itself by stating that this campus is safe.
It is especially unfortunate that the Fresno State Police Department refuted its own crime reporting statistics as a way to parrot the university’s position on the matter. University police have a one-mile jurisdiction around the official campus border, where a vast majority of students live and commute to and from school, which is why crime statistics regarding Fresno State should include the immediate area around the campus.
Fresno State’s denial of the real safety issues that exist on and adjacent to the campus is insulting to students that have been victims of crime, but its administration continues to downplay the seriousness of this matter.
To add more hypocrisy to the issue, the Fresno State administration, through issuing a press release to the media, attempted to reflect itself in a positive light rather than informing the students about campus crime issues.
Olario paid lip service to the issue of student safety by addressing Business Insider’s reissued crime rankings across the U.S. by stating, “This revision provides a more accurate assessment of the safety of our campus and reinforces our students’ perceptions that they feel safe.”
Oliaro made this statement merely hours before another violent shooting took place on campus Thursday evening.
If it really were true that Fresno State is considered to be a safe campus, there would be no need for a Campus Police Department with so many officers. If it were true that crime is not an issue at Fresno State, the Revitalize the Fresno State Community Movement would be unnecessary. If it were true crime was not an issue at Fresno State, the senator position in ASI representing parking and safety issues would be unnecessary.
The reality is that the Fresno State campus area does have a serious crime problem, which ASI is well aware of and I am not denying this fact — unlike Fresno State’s administration. Students should be outraged that campus administrators are practicing “spin control” and downplaying a serious matter by promoting propaganda at the expense of jeopardizing students’ safety at Fresno State.