By: MELISSA FISHMAN / EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
On Sunday, Oct. 24, a group of anti-vaccination protesters attempted to storm the Brooklyn Barclays Center in support of Kyrie Irving, a player on the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, who is not allowed to play this season due to his refusal to get vaccinated.
A group of about a hundred or more allegedly gathered at a nearby park and then marched in unison to the popular sports and concert venue, wielding signs in support of Irving as well as some pro-Trump propaganda.
According to CBS, during the altercation, a group of protestors attempted to storm the doors of the Barclays Center. This forced security personnel to quickly lock the doors to the on-coming crowd of protesters. It was also reported that a person among the crowd tried to force their entry into the building by throwing a police barricade.
In a recent video by The Washington Post, a poster for LIU Brooklyn is clearly visible in the background showing just how close to our campus this demonstration was and what potential problems it might have caused had it worsened.
This recent altercation near campus raises concerns about security in and around the immediate area of LIU.
Early this month, LIU released their Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for all campuses which details all criminal offenses committed on school property. These range from liquor law violations to burglaries to rape, each detailed with the amount of occurrences and their location.
For the 2020 school year, only four types of crimes were reported on the LIU Brooklyn campus. These being drug law violations, liquor law violations, aggravated assault, and burglary.
The full Annual Security and Fire Safety Report pdf can be found at the link here.
The campus Emergency Safety Procedure Guide offers guidance on what to do in the event of an emergency. These emergencies range from medical emergencies to criminal behavior to terrorism, each with very different protocols and procedures.
Guidelines for safety procedures could not be found on the LIU Brooklyn website and were instead only located on the LIU Post website, however these protocols are likely applicable for the Brooklyn campus as well.
Given that the most recent version of this guide was published in January 2008 and is only published on the LIU Post website, some of these protocols are out-of-date and may be difficult to carry out due to COVID protocols.
Nevertheless, had classes been in session on the day of the protest, it is very possible that students on-campus may have had to practice a shelter-in-place drill.
The Safety Procedure Guide defines a shelter-in-place drill as, “a temporary strategy designed to be used when it is safer to remain inside rather than evacuate to the outside.”
This could occur for a myriad of reasons, such as a violent altercation involving weapons in the immediate area of campus or a dangerous person or group of people being outside the gates of campus.
When approached about safety procedures on-campus, 78 percent of students who participated in a survey said they did not know the protocols put in place by Public Safety.
This is immensely alarming, in addition to the fact that crime in New York was up 6.4 percent with the second-most frequent crime being felony assault last week according to the NYPD.
LIU students who participated in the survey were also asked to suggest some improvements for campus safety, with Sports Management major Julian Vega offering this suggestion, “Campus is pretty safe, but there are areas that are dangerous that should have more security near them. Also, being able to get in-contact with security easier might be useful, too.”
Still more suggestions from students included: utilizing the security checkpoint by the Health Science building, allowing students to use the side entrance past 8 p.m., equipping the campus with more lights, and hiring more security guards.
In short, the biggest improvement that needs to be made by the University is “people needing to be more aware of what to do if there’s a shooter or a fire,” as said by a source who wished to remain anonymous.
Despite the lack of knowledge of safety procedures among students, an overwhelming 97% of respondents in our survey said they felt “mostly safe” on-campus.
This is not surprising, considering there are many resources available to students to prevent crime on campus, as found on the LIU website tab for Public Safety. According to the site, materials such as a personal safety presentation given by staff and useful pamphlets can be found in the office upon request.
Also, in the event that a student doesn’t feel safe on-campus, a student need only call 718-488-1078 and Public Safety will provide an escort to take you to and from locations of your choosing to ensure your safe arrival.
In case of an emergency, please call Public Safety as 718-488-1078