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Thread: ODU Unsafe, but anti-self protection policy (student gun ban) will not change

  1. #1
    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Newport News, Virginia, USA

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    Bold and enlarged text done by me to highlight handgun part of article.

    ODU students express fear, call for help after violence
    By Denise Watson Batts
    The Virginian-Pilot
    © December 4, 2008

    More lighting along 41st, 42nd and other streets near Old Dominion University. More emergency call boxes. And a shuttle service that goes into the neighborhoods and has later hours on the weekends.

    Students offered these suggestions and talked about their fears at a student-led rally at ODU on Wednesday, held to address a recent rash of violent crimes in the neighborhoods surrounding the school.

    "I'm afraid to take night classes," Joel Ludwig said.

    About 100 students, parents, administrators and police officials attended the forum at Webb University Center.

    Organizers purposely called it a "rally" to get their peers hyped about the issue of safety, said Clif Gustafson, a 22-year-old finance major. The university has held town hall meetings to hear concerns, but Gustafson said many students have seen those as "political empty words."

    Two weeks ago, a man was shot and killed less than a block from university housing, and in weeks prior, students had been robbed at gunpoint.

    Gustafson, who was robbed last summer while sitting on his porch on West 41st Street, started a page on the online networking site, Facebook, called "ODU Is Not Safe!!!!!!!!" the day after the killing; it happened near his home.

    Another student launched a separate Facebook page, "Students For Concealed Carry on the ODU campus," to gauge interest in approaching the university about lifting its ban on carrying guns and other weapons on campus.

    Jennifer Mullen, a university spokeswoman, said ODU has no plans to reconsider its weapons policy.

    Mullen said the school has seen an increase this year in robberies and assaults off campus, where more students are living with the shortage of on-campus housing. But robberies and assaults on campus have declined, she said.

    Officer Chris Amos, a Norfolk police spokesman, said Wednesday night that robberies are up, but he could not verify whether the number of assaults has increased.

    University and city police have said they will step up car and bicycle patrols of the area. A task force is being formed to look at safety and neighborhood issues, such as housing code enforcement.

    Some suggestions, such as call boxes and more lighting in the neighborhoods, are out of the university's hands because those are city streets, Mullen said. She said ODU is already looking at expanding the shuttle service.

    ODU Police Chief Rudolph Burwell said this week that the idea of Norfolk moving its Third Precinct station - at Goff Street and Tidewater Drive - to or near the campus "has been tossed around." But he emphasized that it wasn't a new idea, and that there have been no decisions or planning.

    "There has been nothing concrete," Burwell said.

    Gustafson said he'd like to see the university adopt some of the strategies being used by Virginia Commonwealth University, the state's largest school, which is in the center of Richmond.

    There, the university police department relies on community policing and other approaches, including crime prevention seminars, landscaping to deter crime, and rape aggression defense courses. During the past 20 years, enrollment has nearly doubled but reported crimes have dropped, according to the VCU police department.

    At the ODU rally, students said the university needed a better alert system.

    One student said she was bothered that while she didn't get an alert about the shooting on 41st Street, she gets constant alerts when the weather is bad.

    Another said the college should consider a "drunk bus" to carry students home from neighborhood parties. Several said they don't see enough police patrols on side streets, only on major corridors. One student praised campus police, saying that whenever she has called them for a ride home, they've helped.

    Naomi Ramos Abreu, from Woodbridge, lives in freshman housing on 41st Street and said she doesn't feel safe anymore. She said the university should curtail enrollment if it can't give students more secure places to live.

    "If you're going to accept that many students," she said, "you need to provide them security."

    Pilot writer Matthew Bowers contributed to this report.

    Denise Watson Batts, (757)446-2504,
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

  2. #2
    Regular Member CRF250rider1000's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Herndon, VA & Martinsville, VA

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    I wish I could carry but I can't even CC legally yet The campus is fine during the day, but as the article stated things are more prone to happen at night. I would feel a lot more safe carrying on campus. Students with CHP's should just throw a handgun in their backpacks or something for the time being:P I wish I would have known about the meeting and I would have gone!

  3. #3
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    Aug 2007

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    If it isn't illegal, concealed means concealed I say. It's not legal for me so I don't carry while at GMU (age, not any laws regarding GMU)

  4. #4
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    Oct 2008
    Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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    I've been down by ODU after nightfall. It's a dodgy area. When I have my eldest daughter with me when I'm out in late evenings, I have her point out people / places that are dodgy and suspect. I'm teaching her how to be aware of her surroundings.

    She still gets a bit miffed when I point out people who are hiding behind cars, fences, etc. She says it's not fair that I can pick them out and she can't. In all fairness, I do have significantly better night vision than she does. But she does recognize that over time and with practice she'll be able to pick them out as well.

    But no, you could not get me to walk around ODU at night without a side arm of some sort or a security escort of 2+ people.

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