The brutal murder of Annie Le, a graduate student at my alma stepmother, has been a horrible shock. The way the story is being covered has been very one-sided. I have a strong feeling that many reporters are going out of their way to transmit the message the university administration wants to be spread around: Yale is generally safe, this is an isolated and unfortunate occurrence.
Don't believe that, people. As somebody who went to Yale I can tell you that there is nothing isolated about what happened to Annie Le.
So here are some of the myths the media and the administration are spreading about how secure Yale is:
Myth 1. "Random acts of violence on campus are “pretty rare”. Not true. Maybe it is at other universities, but at Yale it is extremely common for the students to be mugged, assaulted, robbed, beaten up, menaced with all kinds of weapons and harrassed. I hardly know any one who has not been a victim of a crime on campus.
Myth 2. New Haven is a safe place. "After a stretch of crime in the late 1980s and early 1990s, New Haven doesn’t feel dangerous today, said Jean Recapet, the general manager of Atticus Bookstore and Cafe, who has been working in the campus vicinity since 1982. “We feel like we are in a safe environment,” said Recapet." Of course, a business owner in a dangerous area of town has to say that. But anybody who has lived in New Haven (I lived around the corner from Atticus Bookstore and was one of the most regular patrons) knows that it is a very dangerous town and crime rate is extremely high. As a woman, I felt scared every time I had to go outside after dark. I'm surprised I was only assaulted once while living there. I think I have been lucky. If I start listing all of the cases where people I know personally were victims of crime on campus, this will turn into my longest post.
Myth 3. Yale buildings are secure thanks to swipe cards. This is such a joke. I regularly entered buildings without a swipe card. You just stand there for a minute waiting for somebody to use their card and just follow them in.
The reality is that there is a huge racial and class divide between the super rich Yale and the extremely poor town where it is located. There is poverty, anger, resentment, constant conflicts between the administration and the students or the administration and employees. There is this constant atmosphere of strife, of the administration treating the students (especially the graduate students) and the employees like total crap. It is so annoying that even after a terrible tragedy liike the murder of Annie Le Yale administration can't find the courage to recognize that our campus is VERY dangerous and something needs to be done right now to change things.