It’s so tempting and easy for college officials to spend money on things that look nice in press releases but don’t accomplish much good. (They’re no different from politicians in that regard.)
Campus-safety initiatives are abundant and costly, as Alex Contarino shows in this Martin Center article.
The problem is that college campuses are already very safe — even those in inner city areas, such as Temple — and marginal increases in safety come at high cost. Contarino writes,
Most of the dangers students face are beyond the control of campus administrators — either occurring outside of their purview or stemming from larger social issues. Not surprisingly, the extra spending on campus security has been unsuccessful in curbing the most pressing safety issues, such as alcohol-fueled assault and sexual violence.
These initiatives cost money, of course, and drive up the already exorbitant cost of college.
School officials might say that they are having a positive impact in one area — excessive drinking. That is slightly down among college students, but as Contarino points out, it is also down among young Americans generally.
“Student safety should be a top concern,” Contarino concludes, “but no amount of spending will make every street off-campus safe, and administrators are still a long way off from changing the campus culture of drinking.”