Yale student’s murder shows not even the safest campuses are totally safe

October 7, 2009 — by Maggie Lin

With college application deadlines just around the corner, I’ve done more than my share of research in narrowing down the colleges I want to apply to. There are three main variables which I took into consideration: academics, dining and diversity.

Academics: Of course, being a proud member of the Saratoga High student body, I would take into account college rankings.

Dining: A lover of food, my college experience wouldn’t be complete with a good hearty meal three times a day. Diversity: Not that it’s a bad thing, but our school seems to be lacking in the diversity area. For college, I’m looking for a melting pot, but I’ll settle for a tossed salad.

So far, this system has worked flawlessly for me, but after the recent Yale murder and other recent college killings, I’ve had to reevaluate the criteria I was using. I have now added safety as a new factor into consideration.

Reading the recent article on the recent Yale murder of Annie Le prompted me to include safety as part of my screening process.

In a nutshell, Le was a 24-year-old pharmacology doctoral student at Yale who was found dead in a utility compartment behind a wall in the basement of a research building. This was a real wake-up call for me; I realized that just because a school is top-notch and elite doesn’t guarantee that it’s safe.

Although Le was considerably older than me, this tragedy occurred on the Yale campus, so it was really disturbing to me.

I did some research on Yale security, discovering that, in fact, they actually have their own police force separate from the New Haven police department, as well as police escorts for those late night walks back to the dorm

Though the security seems pretty tight, I suppose the same can’t be said for the surrounding neighborhood.

I am naturally an easily frightened person, but the Yale security seemed safe enough for me. I have lain awake countless nights fearing the time when I will venture out into the dark, all on my own. It’s my one major fear about going to college. You would think this fear would have spurred me to originally consider safety as a factor, but it hasn’t until now.

Unfortunately, only after a few murder cases did I fully realize that safety is an important aspect of choosing colleges. I have resolved to go back through my list and check for safety, since juxtaposed with my original factors, I know see that it is the most important one.

After mulling over this topic, I have come to a conclusion. A school may be safe, but sometimes things are just out of your hands. Annie Le was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Although sometimes you can’t control what happens, come next May, I will try my best to choose the college that I feel the most comfortable in.