Recently in the area surrounding Grand Valley State University there have been several concerning incidents involving GVSU students. One student was the victim of a hit and run accident on 48th Street. Another student was the victim of a sexual assault in Country Place Apartments.

The Grand Valley Police Department has not been involved in investigating either of the incidents because both are in Ottawa County’s jurisdiction. While both of these incidents were technically off-campus, they were also less than five minutes away from the university and many GVSU students call these areas home. Should the university be doing more to keep students safe in these areas that are basically an extension of campus?

In regard to foot traffic on 48th Street, many who walk along that street are students as there are several off campus apartments located there. This is a very dangerous street to walk along though as there are no sidewalks or streetlights. Walkers can easily be glanced over, and students driving recklessly after a night out can accidentally hit a pedestrian.

Even though this area is not on GVSU’s campus, the university should do something to help make this street safer for students. Encourage Allendale to build a sidewalk, help with the funding of a walkway, do something to keep your students safe walking in the immediate area around campus.

As for the sexual assault that occurred in Country Place, the university did little to make students aware that it happened. While there was an email sent to the entire campus community when robberies were happening near the downtown campus, it took nearly five days for the university to send out a notice that a sexual assault had occurred near the Allendale Campus. The claim that it’s not their jurisdiction and that the Ottawa County police are still investigating does little to help their case, as they had no problem sending out an email about the robberies downtown later that day.

The question remains that if an incident occurs barely off campus, does the university have a responsibility to get involved so that something like it doesn’t occur again, or is less likely to? We at the Lanthorn believe GVSU should do all it can to keep the campus and its students as safe as possible. Even if an incident occurs outside of GVPD’s jurisdiction, there are still other things the university can do to make a difference, which should at the very least include keeping students informed and aware of dangerous situations.