Campus safety a thing of the present

It’s a normal day, and everything is happening just as it should. Classes end, breaks begin and hopefully some much-needed downtime waits. It all goes according to plan, until that moment presents itself where something doesn’t quite feel right. While it could happen to anyone, how many students can say they have witnessed a crime firsthand? 

And how many could have stopped it from happening?

The Copeland Creek trail was becoming a suspicious place near campus due to a recent crime alert on Aug. 25, until Rohnert Park Officer Justin Thompson patrolled the area on Tuesday and found a male subject attempting a similar offense, who then ran from him.

Fortunately for Rohnert Park residents, the subject was found and confessed to the assault from the prior date, and is now being held in the Sonoma County Jail.

The initial crime took place when a woman was attacked by a male while jogging along the trail, and although she was safe from the incident, students on the Sonoma State University campus have been concerned, as this is not the first time something like this has happened.

While a situation like this is out in the open, there are far too many cases of different attempts at sexual assault that aren’t being handled properly. It comes down to the culture and how to deal with whether or not something is being confirmed as consensual on both sides. With California’s recent passing of the “yes means yes” sexual assault bill, change may be coming.

Formerly known as Senate Bill 967, it essentially states there needs to be a completely agreed upon decision between two people before any sexual activity can happen, and that saying “no” isn’t enough if there is a lack of saying “yes.”

One of things this bill effectively takes into account is how often victims of sexual assault are unable to say no because of either drugs or alcohol consumption rendering them unresponsive during the act. Because of how common assault occurs on college campuses, the bill has the potential to completely shift the hook-up culture seen across the country.

If Gov. Jerry Brown were to sign the bill, it would have an immediate impact on Sonoma State University to become far more aware of sexual assault, as it affects every single student on campus. It would help create a healthier environment, and enable young men and women to develop positive patterns and boundaries as they age as well as mature in their relationships.

While continuing to be one of the safest campuses within the CSU, there are many things the university has done to improve the awareness of assault. Whether it’s trying to prevent attacks, educating the students about consent, supporting victims, or disciplining offenders, one can’t say the campus hasn’t tried to do all they can to keep people safe.

Although we appear to be safe in many ways, if Gov. Brown were to sign the bill, it would help encourage a complete refocus on the university’s goals, which in itself means a new standard of information will eventually be shared and spread throughout the campus.

Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill sent to his desk, and in the meantime the university will continue on with it’s third week of instruction. Should anything suspicious take place remember to report to the campus police immediately, walk with a purpose while being aware of surroundings and if there’s a crime in progress, call 911.