By Cori Olson, ’14
Students at Pacific Lutheran University are comfortable knowing they live on a safe campus, but there is something not far from campus that can make that comfort level a little more unsteady.
Approximately 31 sex offenders live within a seven mile radius of the university and some of those live just across the street from it. They should not be allowed to be near any school campus, whether it be a college, elementary school or anything in between, by at least a 5 mile radius.
These sex offenders are close to this campus full of students and authorities have allowed these offenders to live near the school within walking distance.
As a student on campus, my skin crawled when I looked up the amount of sex offenders around the school. FamilyWatchdDog.us even had unlisted information on about five of those 31 sex offenders, meaning it could be anybody we see walking around and we are unable to identify them to know if we should avoid contact. If a big portion of the offenders are unidentifiable, it just makes the job of keeping students safe harder for campus safety. An offender can pass for a parent or even a student.
If all offenders are forced to live at least five miles away from any school or university it will assure students and parents alike that these people will not commit another offense on them or their own children. According to Wired.com, a popular media website, Megan’s Law (Megan Kanka was a 7-year-old girl who was murdered and raped by a twice-convicted molester who moved into a house across the street from the family without them knowing) states that when a child molester moves into a neighborhood, residents must be notified. This doesn’t quite seem like enough. They’re allowed to live in neighborhoods with children, because that’s really unavoidable when there are so many neighbors. But if we at least keep them a fair distance from our schools, that would be a necessary step. At home, parents can protect their children from strangers or molesters, but at school any student of any age can be a target without a guardian around.
Not enough is done to keep sex offenders away from universities, in my opinion. Reason being though is because all American citizens have rights, and by taking away their rights of living where they want to in privacy (that is, without people knowing they are sex offenders) it makes those kinds of restrictions unconstitutional. Due process is the right to not have punishment after completing a sentence, and when sex offenders are brought into the light they can no longer live a normal life in privacy. Everybody around them, in their neighborhood, work, or other community they may go to, will know of their past and the offender will be harassed. Although, as far as I’m concerned, once you commit a crime like that you have thrown away all your rights.
To be clear, sex offenders across the street from a college campus is truly disturbing. The fact that there are 31 within a seven mile radius is even more disturbing. Laws protect people that hurt other people and that is not fair. They should be at least five miles away from any school or university and all of them should be identified on the familywatchdog.us website. It’s a universal website where anybody can check to see if their area is safe from offenders. If this is unconstitutional, keep them in jail where they lose those rights and stay a criminal. Students deserve to get an education on a safe campus and in a safe community.
Hopefully, eventually bigger steps will be taken to keep this unsteady feeling out of our lives and off of our campus. Students at Pacific Lutheran University deserve to be comfortable knowing they are receiving an education in a safe environment.
Find sex offenders in your area by going to http://familywatchdog.us/ShowMap.asp?frm=0 or http://www.icrimewatch.net/index.php?AgencyID=54483&disc=