Come Clean on Campus Crime
To the editor: Regarding your story about Clery Act controversies at Tarleton State University (“A Fine Education,” Nov. 11, 2009): Colleges and universities routinely provide Clery Act data while touting their compliance to the public. Shomial Ahmad’s superb article brings to mind a more important concern going beyond compliance failures.
What is missing is a genuine commitment by universities to institute formal policies implementing real-time crime reporting. So far, in this area, the University of Texas at Arlington seems to be closest to reaching that objective, as it provides monthly reports online. It took months to convince the Tarrant County College board to go the extra mile and publish quarterly data.
The big flaw is that the data provided is virtually useless to those needing it most. Until the New Year, we get only the crime category total for incidents occurring between Jan. 1, 2006 and Dec. 31, 2008: stale data. Who would invest based on information this old?
Why don’t our institutions go beyond the law and publish useful information that is complete, timely, and with trend reports? The answer is simple: They don’t want to be bothered or, worse, have to reveal an uptick in crime!
Perhaps it’s time for families, students, and school employees to demand changes.
Gearheads/Deadheads – Separated at Birth?
To the editor: Loved the article “A Tribe at the Track” (Nov. 11, 2009). It’s amazing how much the tribe of NASCAR followers is like the tribe of Grateful Dead followers. The Dead followers, of course, smoked something other than meat, and the competition over favorites wasn’t present. Other than those issues it’s very much the same.
Weed Out the Fanatics
To the editor: Dr. Shari Julian’s guest column (“Denial and Tragedy, Nov. 18, 2009) puts her expertise as a behavioral consultant to good use.
The Fort Hood terrorist, Dr. Hasan, was practically given a free license to nurture his extremist religious beliefs – he wanted to charge some of his patients with “war crimes,” tried to proselytize others to convert to Islam, and otherwise made statements to patients about his own religious beliefs. All was hidden by virtue of his rank and the military’s refusal to take appropriate action because of a litany of excuses: Don’t insult his ethnicity or religion. We’re desperate to keep all our psychiatrists. And so on.
The military needs to better screen their soldiers of all ranks and positions. With red flags flying, as they were in the Hasan scenario, they can’t be hesitant or worry overmuch about insulting someone. They simply must weed out the fanatics, period.
To the editor: Dr. Julian’s article was apropos. She certainly touched on all the ingredients that played a part in the Fort Hood killings. Congress and the military need to go for the jugular on the mental health issues that challenge our military service folks.
A comprehensive investigation should be conducted posthaste. We’re losing too many solidiers to PTSD and suicides, as well as those who give the ultimate – their lives on the battlefield.
Now we have domestic terrorism to worry about as well, as with the Fort Hood massacre, where soldiers already suffering from PTSD were victims of another tragedy, this one committed by one of their own, turned Islamist extremist.
This is indeed a call to action.
God bless the troops.