Lost in translation: Student clarifies previous controversial article

Apparently I’m controversial. If you had spent last weekend with me, back in Cleveland enjoying a weekend with my family, you probably wouldn’t think so – unless you’re a Toledo fan.

However, through the wonderful thing that is the grapevine that Mercyhurst College provides, it has come to my attention that the article I wrote two weeks ago has rankled a few noses. I don’t usually feel the need to explain myself, but as it appears I’ve gone and confused some presumably well-educated individuals, I feel it wouldn’t be polite to leave them with concerns about my meaning.

Two weeks ago I wrote that “a Pennsylvania State Police report lists Mercyhurst as the most crime-ridden campus out of all the local colleges and universities in Erie.” A legitimate concern has been raised – the Mercyhurst numbers combine both the Erie Main campus and the Northeast campus. There is also apparently the concern that I consider Mercyhurst a “dangerous” campus.

A Reader’s Digest survey published in 2008 places the University of Colorado, UMass at Amherst, Duke and the University of Florida as some of the most dangerous campuses in America. Duke, according to their Cleary statistics for 2007 (the most recent year published by Mercyhurst), reports four forcible sexual assaults, 47 burglaries and four illegal weapons arrests. In the same categories, Mercyhurst reported two, 21, and one crime, respectively. Considering the much larger scope of Duke University, it is likely that students there are less likely to talk to or report crimes to a more distant, less involved police force with less identifiable and personable officers. Hence, it would be logical to presume that there are even more crimes that occur there than are reported in the Cleary statistics.

So while statistically speaking, there are more reported forcible sexual assaults per student here at Mercyhurst than there are at Duke University, it should also be noted that New York University lists 10 forcible sexual assaults in their report – and they’re one of the safest schools in the nation.

Placing all statistics aside, what needs to be understood is this: Mercyhurst is by no means a “dangerous” campus. If you took the time to read my previous article, you’d understand this, because I did not use the word dangerous once. On this, I would not mince words.

Just because Mercyhurst is not dangerous does not mean that it cannot be more secure, and the administration, staff and students should seize every opportunity to better this institution – Carpe Diem, remember?