The term 'Safety,' means 'free from danger or harm.' The presence of many people in one place is bound to inevitably create or perpetuate many issues (Smith, 2010). Due to differing ideologies, culture, or lifestyle. In this case, for example, on a campus (college/university), learners are exposed to many issues that affect them directly or indirectly, e.g., quality of education, teaching styles, 'leader-member exchange' (LMX), gender equality, religious liberty, etc. It's clear the issues are many and cannot be exhausted in one study. This brief study is meant to shed some light on the issue of Safety on Campus.
Safety is often seen to predominantly relate to the physical aspects alone, i.e., keeping a learner from physical harm. However, truth is safety is not only about; freedom from physical harm. It also entails; protection from psychological and emotional distress. Knowledge of the latter is more apparent to most of the developed countries in the world, e.g., the United States (US), the European Union, and Asia. As for Africa, not so much. It's not a perfect picture, though, ironically, the average level of psychological distress in a teenager in the US is comparable to that of a mental health patient in the 1950s.
Physical safety is a must if learning is to take place successfully. Take the example of war-torn countries in the Middle East; Iraq and Afghanistan. Imagine sitting down in class with fears of getting shot at or bombed by terror groups like; Taliban, Al Qaeda, or ISIS (Baytiyeh, 2018). For a normal person, their attention to the tutor or lecturer will be divided. They will forever be wondering, what if today is the last day?? This is not only a concern for centers of learning in Middle Eastern countries, and it is a worldwide concern. All Institutions of higher learning in all 186 countries of the world are charged by governments and law, with the mandate to keep the students safe, as a basic human right.
Psychological or emotional distress is as much a threat to safety as physical distress or harm. It is known by many that; 'Hurt people hurt people' (Ren &Williams, 2018). Safety or a lack thereof, on the campus, is almost always something to do with people involved (students, employees, and management), for example, in the case of Kenya, East Africa. The country has, in recent years, reported a number of extrajudicial killings involving campus students. One famous case, a young man, traveled from the capital city (Nairobi) to a town (Eldoret), 325 km away on a 'visit' to see his lover, a young woman named Ivy.
It turns out the young man had murderous intent. His lover, a 5th-year medical student, broke up with him on the phone, but he would have none of it. As Ivy was walking to her hostel one afternoon, the young man accosted her armed with an ax and, without warning, dealt her a blow to the head, killing her on the spot. It was a horrid sight, with Ivy lying in a pool of blood. He was attacked by an angry mob, but the police managed to arrest him. It was confirmed later after a medical examination that he had mental health issues.
The point of this case study is to show that safety from both; physical and psychological harm is intertwined. If the young man had emotional distress, but there were measures in place, like a campus professional (counselor or psychiatrist) to help him deal with emotional distress (the break up), it would probably have less drastic results. The young man is now languishing in prison for first-degree murder-no hope of ever accomplishing the academic goals that had brought both him and the deceased to campus.
The creation of safety for campus-level learners comes with paying attention to all aspects of both the physical and psychological areas. Ignoring one, especially the latter, is tantamount to a person seated at the stern of a sailing boat and enjoying the sea breeze and watching with little interest as another, on the Bow, bores a hole in the hull, in the name of 'It's none of my business.' Obviously, the whole boat will capsize, and it will become the business of both. Let the attitude towards safety change in regards to this study.
Baytiyeh, H. (2018). Are Islamic Militant Groups a Product of Religion?. Peace Review, 30(4), 493-501.
Berrey, H. (2015). U.S. Patent No. 9,145,094. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Ren, D., Wesselmann, E. D., & Williams, K. D. (2018). Hurt people hurt people: ostracism and aggression. Current opinion in psychology, 19, 34-38.
Smith, F. M. (2010). Working in Different Cultures 12. Key methods in geography, 157.
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